September spelled further pain for restaurants and takeaway businesses, as spending on eating out slowed due to Brits cutting back on eating out before the Christmas period.
According to Barclay’s latest spending report, some 44 per cent of respondents are trimming their discretionary spending in the run up to the festivities, with dining out the most frequently cited cutback at 60 per cent.
Spending in restaurants dropped 10.8 per cent in September, while takeaway spending slowed 6.5 per cent, according to the survey.
The pullback in spending came despite an unusually sunny September, which, along with major sporting events, provided a welcome boost to the wider hospitality sector.
At pubs, bars and clubs, spending was up 6.1 per cent as the kick off of the Rugby World Cup drove punters back to the boozer to watch.
Jack Meaning, chief UK economist at Barclays, said: “Over the last few months, a picture has been building of consumers beginning to pull back on discretionary spending as the cost of living and monetary tightening from the Bank of England increasingly bite.
“We’ve seen the warning signs from surveys, and now we see it in the more concrete spending data.”
He added: “This suggests the outlook for consumers, and the businesses that rely on them, is weak, even as they finally see their disposable incomes rise faster than inflation. It makes it hard to see anything but a relatively stagnant economy on the horizon.”
As customers remain cautious about spending, nearly half told Barclays they had seen more examples of “surge pricing”, where companies raise the prices of products and services during peak times.
Respondents said that while some pubs and bars may be charging more when trade is busier, only one in 12 consumers say they are willing to pay more to eat and drink out at popular times.
It comes as Slug & Lettuce owner Stonegate Group said last month it would raise the price of its pint by 20p during its busiest trading hours due to rising costs.
A number of other companies, most notably ride-hailing apps like Uber, implement surge charge fees meaning the cost of their services goes up during peak hours.