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UK consumer spending falls for first time in nearly 4 years

Staff Writer |
British consumers cut their spending for the first time in nearly four years last month, figures from credit card firm Visa showed, as households turned more cautious even before last week's shock election result.

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Consumer spending in May was 0.8 percent lower than in the same month in 2016 after adjusting for inflation, the first year-on-year fall since September 2013, Visa said on Monday.

Sales fell by a hefty 1.9 percent in monthly terms.

Visa said bricks-and-mortar retailers suffered their biggest fall in sales in five years, which was only partly offset by strong growth in online sales.

Growth in spending at hotels and restaurants - which has risen much faster than at retailers in recent quarters - slowed to an annual 3.3 percent.

Spending on transport and clothing were the categories with the biggest falls.

The Visa figures strip out seasonal and inflation effects, and are adjusted to take account of the growing share of spending on cards rather than cash.

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