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Retail sales up but where is the money coming from?

As UK retail sales improved again in July, after a particularly strong June, there is optimism on the high street but mystery as to where UK consumers are getting their money from. At a time when the property market is yet to fully recover, unemployment is set to smash through the 3 million barrier and the cost of living is still significantly higher than 12 months ago, how are UK consumers funding their current buying spree?

While we await confirmation of credit card spending and debit card transactions for the early part of 2009, it would seem that more and more UK consumers are looking for value in the market place. There will also be a number of consumers who are buying ahead of Christmas possibly using their credit cards and increasing their liabilities in the short to medium term. We have seen some credit card companies reduce credit limits and actually call debts in due to concerns regarding security in the future.

So at the moment it is unclear as to where this new rush of money on the high street is coming from but no doubt we will receive confirmation in due course when the banking industry reveals credit card and debit card spending for the last few months. Let us hope that UK consumers are not increasing their debts!

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