Consumers ‘still spending cautiously’

Customer spending is expected to remain at a relatively low level over the coming months, according to a CBI survey of high street retailers.

Debt worries, credit card bills and loan repayments might be contributing factors to forecasted prudence in the early stages of this year.

Andy Clarke, chairman of the CBI Distributive Trades Panel and chief operating officer of Asda, said: “The road to recovery through 2010 is likely to be fragile. Worries about the economy and upcoming pay freezes are likely to ensure that shoppers remain cautious.”

Although February saw an increase in sales, Mr Clarke is not complacent about the future.

He explained that the rise in revenue is not surprising if January VAT changes and forward buys in December are taken into consideration.

Consumers are apparently reluctant to overspend and a recent survey by Markit and YouGov revealed that one-third of people are pessimistic about their economic prospects for this year.

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