UK consumer confidence improves but remains negative
GfK's consumer confidence index increased to -5 in May from -7 the month before, when the market had expected it to worsen to -8 as inflation and low wage growth increase the pressure on households.
Four of the five measures that make up the index increased: confidence in consumers' personal financial situation, the wider economy, and future plans for shopping and saving.
Said Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK: "Despite life becoming more expensive with inflation hitting its highest level in four years, and wages dropping in real terms for the first time in three years, stagnant living standards haven't yet significantly dented consumers' spirits - when it comes to retail therapy we remain happy to splash the cash as sales jump ahead of expectations.
Although the overall index remained in negative territory, Staton said it was not as low as he might have expected during such periods of pre-election and pre-Brexit uncertainty. ■