Family spending power reached a record high last month, with shoppers’ weekly spend rising year-on-year for the 13th month in a row, according to Asda.
Family spending power is now at its highest point since the supermarket chain’s Income Tracker first began tracking discretionary incomes in January 2007, surpassing the peak of £174 in January 2010 by £2 per week to reach £176 in October.
Asda said families’ discretionary incomes (the income left once taxes and the spend on essentials like rent, utilities and bills have been deducted) were boosted by a number of positive factors in October including rising wages, which finally outstripped inflation, and falling unemployment. It added that as retailers continue to invest in lowering prices for their customers, the cost of essentials like food and fuel fell year on year again by 1.4% and 4.8% respectively, meaning family budgets stretched even further last month. The warmer than expected weather this autumn also prompted retailers to offer discounts across their winter ranges with the price of clothes and shoes dropping 0.2% year on year.
Commenting on the findings, Asda president and ceo Andy Clarke said: “I’m really pleased to see that family incomes are strengthening month on month after such a prolonged period of difficulty for household budgets. Christmas is such an important time for families, so it’s great that this Christmas they are less constrained than they have been in previous years.
“Deflation in food costs, vehicle fuel, and clothing, are all contributing to a more positive spending outlook across the UK. I’m hopeful that these things alongside a continued fall in unemployment, freezes on energy prices, and a slowdown in mortgage payment costs, will see the recovery continue into 2015.”