Another blow to the High Street: Consumer confidence falls as households nervously await Brexit
- Consumer confidence fell two points in September to -9, report finds
- GfK puts it down to nerves building around the UK’s exit from the EU in March
- Low shopper sentiment could spell more bad news for already troubled retailers
According to the latest reading of the widely-followed GfK consumer confidence index, shopper sentiment slipped two points in September to -9, as the noise around Brexit builds – meaning they could tread with greater caution on spending.
GfK client strategy director Joe Staton said: ‘When respondents talk about their personal finances, the scores are still positive. But for the general economy, they can only reflect on the obvious uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
This could spell more bad news for the embattled retail industry, which has been rocked by volatile consumer confidence since the Brexit vote.
2018 is turning out to be the toughest year on the High Street for a decade, as retailers simultaneously juggle the rise of online shopping and mounting costs too.
Having dismissed concerns during a long, hot summer, GfK said that shoppers are now feeling less positive about general economy.
Staton said: ‘The clock is ticking down and in September the consumer mood dropped a couple of notches.’
‘That poor view of the wider economy is keeping the headline score negative,’ he added.
Four out of the five sub-components of the index deteriorated in September, including the forecast for personal finances in the year ahead, which dropped three points in September.
Expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months edged down one point to -27.
Staton warns that the situation could worsen if consumers ‘capitulate on how they feel about their personal finances’.
‘If that happens, we’ll see very sharp drops indeed in the overall index score in the months up to March 2019,’ he said.
The last time the overall index was in positive territory was in January 2016.