By Daniel Hunter

September proved to be a strong month for UK consumer spending, with a month-on-month increase of 3.0% and a rise over the third quarter as a whole of 1.9% recorded.

This is according to Visa Europe’s UK Expenditure Index, which takes card spending data and adjusts it for a variety of factors to create a like-for-like comparison of consumer spending. This distinguishes the Index from Visa’s corporate performance, and thereby provides a robust indicator of consumer spending habits.

Monthly growth was the sharpest since May 2009, while the quarterly gain was the best since July 2009.

Moreover, there was an even a return to expansion on the annual measure, with the gain of 0.2% the first recorded since July 2011.

“September witnessed the biggest monthly rise in consumer spending since May 2009 as spending increased 3% compared to August levels," Jeremy Nicholds, EVP for Commercial Development at Visa Europe said.

"This means the third quarter has been by far the best recorded this year.

“So far this year, consumer spending has been subdued and weaker than in 2011 but the recent improvement has meant that overall spending levels are once again growing — a trend not recorded since July 2011. Hopefully this trend will continue throughout quarter four as we approach retailers’ most important period in the run up to Christmas.

“The High Street was the main beneficiary of September’s spending boost, with face-to-face spending up 1.6% compared against a year ago, while online and mail order transactions were weaker. Five of the eight spending categories recorded growth with the Food and Beverages and Hotels and Restaurants categories the stand out performers.”

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