Consumer spending still cautious

British households remain cautious in their spending, the latest Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker shows, with families in London and the south east feeling particularly pinched.

The Tracker found that the average British household spent £181 on out of home leisure in February—a 2% drop on January and a 7% fall on the same month in 2015. Expenditure on eating out fell by 4% year on year, and on drinking out by 7%.

Households in London and the south east spent £20 less on leisure than they did in February 2015, compared to a £12 drop elsewhere in Britain.

Greene King suggests that a relatively gloomy economic outlook is to blame for the squeeze on spending, along with wet weather throughout February. The Tracker suggests that despondency over the economy seems particularly acute in London and the south east, which for many years have been ahead of the rest of the country in spending.

But the Tracker also uncovered evidence that younger people are still optimistic about their financial futures. Among 25 to 34 year-olds, more than three quarters think their households’ financial situations will be the same or better in a year’s time.

Greene King group marketing director Fiona Gunn said: “There is uncertainty on the economic outlook, and this could be trickling through to consumer spending. However, we’re happy to see that young Brits are remaining optimistic and hope that their positivity is carried through into wider sections of the population over the coming months.”