Britons love a windfall. When the building societies became banks, consumers sold their shares and went on a spree. When they received compensation for wrongly sold payment protection insurance, they blew the lot on new cars and cruises.
So when oil prices crashed in the second half of 2014, it was a no-brainer that shops and stores could look forward to a promising start to 2015. Faced with the choice between banking the savings they were making on filling up the car and a bit of retail therapy there was never any real doubt about what consumers would do.
The latest official data proves the point. The volume of retail sales was up 1.2% between March and April, while the quarterly increase – a better guide to the underlying trend – was 0.7%. No hint there that consumers were apprehensive about the election result. While the politicians were out campaigning, voters were out shopping.
The boost to disposable income from cheaper energy costs is only part of the story. Unemployment is falling and confidence is strong. Retailers have been cutting their prices, and with the cost of goods down by more than 3% year on year, there are plenty of bargains to be had.
via The Guardian