According to Footfall, which counts people going into shops, there was an 8.9 per cent decline in high street shoppers when compared to the same period last year, with Thomas Cook reporting a 13 per cent decline in winter holiday bookings.
“The reason it is so weak is because of lack of consumer confidence and the economic downturn,” a spokesman for the travel agency told the Daily Telegraph. “People see their winter holiday as a luxury and if they are feeling the pinch they are less likely to book it.”
Economists are also quoted, saying that high utility bills had affected the amount of free cash people had to spend.
Natasha Burton, retail analyst at Footfall, which did not count online spending, added that she believed that debit and credit card debt levels also had an effect on spending patterns her agency studied.