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Latest spending data shows pause in UK economic recovery

Financial Times - 23 July 2020

Separate figures from the Bank of England’s payment system and from card payments collected by Fable Data show a worse picture for spending in mid-July than at the start of the month. Link to the article

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UK economic recovery tracker: what the latest data on activity are signalling

Financial Times -  updated 5 August 2020

The year-on-year fall, measured by Fable Data based on card use across the UK, is no longer anything like close to 40 per cent drop in April, but the most recent data shows spending remains well below that of the same time in 2019. Link to the article

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UK consumer spending down despite reopening of hospitality sector

Financial Times - 10 July 2020

However, despite a “boost” last weekend, “consumers continue to spend considerably less in restaurants bars, pubs and cafés than last year”, according to Avinash Srinivasan, analyst at Fable Data. Link to the article

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Sunak to weigh consumers’ response to easing before completing stimulus plan

Financial Times - 26 June 2020

Suraj Gohil, product director at Fable Data, said: “As the week progressed the increase in both the number of customers and spend [compared to the lockdown period] began to slow as did the average basket size, albeit remaining above lockdown levels.” Link to the article

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English shoppers’ return points to a gradual retail recovery

Financial Times - 18 June 2020

Non-essential retail spending — which was down more than 80 per cent during much of the lockdown — recovered sharply on Monday to just 20 per cent below the levels on the same day last year, according to consultancy Fable Data, which collated information from various sources including credit and debit cards for the FT. Link to the article

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UK’s virus recovery lags behind European peers

Financial Times - 11 June 2020

Fable Data suggest spending levels in both [the UK and Germany] remained subdued in the first week of June at about 20 per cent lower than the same week in 2019. Link to the article

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Consumers’ reluctance to spend puts brake on UK recovery

Financial Times - 5 June 2020

Spending in grocery stores stayed at the high levels enjoyed during the lockdown... but was overtaken in terms of annual spending growth by hardware shops and garden centres. Suraj Gohil, product director at Fable Data, said the sector had enjoyed “a decent pick-up in spend” over the past month.

Link to the article

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UK set for record-breaking economic growth in third quarter

Financial Times -  24 August 2020

In the first two weeks of August, consumer spending, including leisure, was about 7 per cent higher than during the same period one year earlier, said Fable Data. Link to the article

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UK economic recovery tracker: what the latest data on activity are signalling

Financial Times -  updated 2 September 2020

Consumer spending, which comprises almost two-thirds of the UK’s gross domestic product, fell sharply in March as it became apparent the UK was heading for a lockdown. But there were some bright signs in August when spending exceeded last year’s level for the first time since the outbreak, according to Fable Data, which tracks card payments across the UK.

Link to the article

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London consumer spending soars during cheap meal scheme

City A.M. - 10 September 2020

Food and beverage spending in London in July was a whopping 39.1 per cent lower than a year earlier, showed figures from Fable Data, which tracks card payments and bank transactions.  Link to the article

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Fear and frustration: Europe's wealthy keep wallets closed

Reuters - 11 September 2020

Card transaction data from analytics firm Fable Data shows UK retail sales rose in August, recovering to just above 2019 levels by the end of the month. Consumers shifted spending from entertainment, leisure and transport towards cars, car maintenance, home improvements and sporting goods.

Link to the article

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Richer London boroughs suffer biggest fall in lockdown spending

City A.M. - 11 September 2020

Some of the richer boroughs – where residents have thriving food scenes on their doorstep and more spare cash – did the best from the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in August, according to card payments and bank transactions tracked by Fable Data. Link to the article

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UK economy faces gloomy fourth quarter
Spending slowed even before new restrictions were announced

Financial Times -  23 September 2020

Consumer spending remains the bright spot in the economy, with the latest figures from Fable Data, which tracks spending on cards and bank accounts, showing a 4.8 per cent rise in total spending in the week up to September 13, compared with the same week in 2019.

Link to the article

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Recovery in UK consumer confidence threatened by rising infections

Financial Times -  25 September 2020

In the week ending September 20, UK consumer spending contracted on an annual basis for the first time. “After six weeks of positive year-on-year spend, UK spend was down 1.32 per cent this week,” said Avinash Srinivasan, equity analyst at Fable Data. Link to the article

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Fixing test and trace is the only way to avoid economic catastrophe

According to the Fable data, based on 180,000 transactions, spending in Leicester was already 31pc down compared to its pre-virus level, at around £750,000 a day. But while the lockdown cut Covid-19 cases from 20 per 100,000 to fewer than five per 100,000 inhabitants, it did so without any further significant decline in credit card spending compared to Coventry.

Link to the article

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Economic update: Summer rebound but gloomier winter ahead

House of Commons Library -  29 September 2020


The Telegraph -  28 September 2020


Pubs and restaurants take blame for UK’s Covid spike

Financial Times -  8 October 2020

The latest consumer spending figures from Fable Data, a consultancy which has access to spending on cards across the UK, suggests spending in the hospitality sector remained high in September, after the August boost, but has begun to fall off. The latest figures show pubs had their worst week of takings up to last Sunday since the first week in August. Link to the article

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There are some indications that the summer momentum began to ease in September. For example, the IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index showed growth in business activity slowed in September. This was particularly the case in the services sector. In addition, card and bank payments data collected by Fable Data point to consumer spending slowing over the course of September, following strong increases in July and August.

*The House of Commons Library does not operate as a press outlet, but as an impartial research and information service based in UK Parliament.

Link to the insight


Die Briten zeigen, wie erfolglos die Sperrstunde wirklich ist

Die Welt -  12 October 2020

Translation: The British show how unsuccessful the curfew really is

Kreditkartenumsätze in Pubs lagen seit Mitte August bis Ende September laut Daten des Beratungsunternehmens Fable Data regelmäßig über dem Vorjahr. Seither verzeichnen sie einen deutlichen Abwärtstrend. Die Pub-Ausgaben liegen im zweistelligen Prozentbereich unter den Werten der entsprechenden Wochen 2019. Link to the article

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London restaurant spend topped 2019 before new restrictions

City AM -  21 October 2020

Spending at restaurants, pubs and bars in London climbed above 2019 levels for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic before new restrictions were put in place, data provided exclusively to City A.M has shown. Food and beverage spending was 1.7 per cent higher in September than a year earlier, according to Fable Data, which tracks card payments and bank transactions.

Link to the article

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Drop in UK consumer confidence fuels double-dip recession fears

Financial Times -  23 October 2020

Figures from Fable Data, a company that tracks bank transactions, showed the annual change in spending for pubs and restaurants contracted in the week ending October 18, reversing September’s expansion, despite growth in spending on food deliveries.

Link to the article

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New restrictions less damaging to UK economy than spring lockdown, data show

Financial Times -  16 November 2020

Consumer spending contracted 2.8 per cent in the week ending November 8 compared with the same week last year, down from a 1 per cent expansion in the previous week, but a smaller drop than in March, according to Fable Data.

Link to the article

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How to contain COVID-19 flare-ups without crushing the economy

Chicago Booth Review -  17 November 2020

As the virus that causes COVID-19 continues to spread, global policy makers face a multitrillion-dollar question: How can we contain it without a fresh round of broad lockdowns? The researchers combined COVID-19 case reports with spending figures provided by Fable Data.

Link to the article

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UK consumer confidence at six-month low as restrictions tighten

Financial Times -  20 November 2020

The figures were released as research from Fable Data, a company that tracks credit card transactions, showed UK consumer spending contracting 8.8 per cent in the week ending November 15 compared to the same period last year, making a sudden reversal of the improvements seen over the summer. 

Link to the article


Consumers rushed out to spend after England lockdown lifted

Financial Times -  17 December 2020

Figures produced by Fable Data, based on card transactions and bank payments, show that consumer expenditure in the UK was up 9.4 per cent in the week ending December 13 compared with the same period a year ago.

Link to the article


Lockdowns fuel fears of double-dip recession in Eurozone 

Financial Times -  17 January 2021

German consumer spending in the second week of January was 25 per cent lower than in the same period last year, according to Fable Data, which tracks bank transactions.

Link to the article


Eurozone heading for double-dip recession as expert fears 'wave of bankruptcies'

Daily Express -  18 January 2021

Germany last week rolled out a series of new measures with infections and deaths growing at a record rates. Consumer spending in the second week of January was down 25 percent compared to the same period last year, according to Fable Data.

Link to the article

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Investment Trends Beyond 2021: Nearshoring of Tech Talent

Forbes -  20 January 2021

 In real demand terms, the consumer transaction data specialist Fable Data reported that in the U.K., spending on electronics ranked among the top three segments in November and December, and in Germany, hardware alongside beer and wine were consistently among the most popular individual purchase areas.

Link to the article


Mapping and addressing COVID-19 regional inequalities using real-time spending data

LSE British Politics and Policy Insights -  28 January 2021

A recent UK government aim is to address such disparities through policies to 'level-up' the regions that historically have experienced less benefits arising from globalisation and national economic growth. This is a particular pertinent issue for the UK, which is among the most geographically unequal developed economies. In our research, we use granular, real-time data on consumer spending to measure the uneven 2020 recession and recovery across UK regions. 

Link to the article

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Growth figures don't tell us what we really need to know about economy

The Telegraph - 9 February 2021 

Of more potential use is research from the likes of University of Nottingham professor John Gathergood and his colleagues using real time credit card spending figures from data firm Fable, giving a more recent picture of where the spending is happening. 

The authors rightly point out that with such surgical data on spending available – the Fable data is available with a one-day lag – the opportunity is there for the Government to offer surgical support with policies such as business rates relief.

Link to the article


UK businesses report strong trade after lockdown reopening

Financial Times - 20 April 2021

In the first three days after the reopening, consumer spending was up 10 per cent compared with the same days of that week in 2019, up from nearly minus 30 per cent in the week ending April 11, according to Fable Data, a company that tracks credit card transactions.

Link to the article

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UK consumer confidence rises to highest level since first lockdown

Financial Times - 23 April 2021

Spending in the week to April 18 was 5 per cent above the equivalent week in 2019, according to Fable Data, which tracks credit card transactions. The figures covered the period after the reopening of non-essential shops, the hospitality sectors and personal services such as hairdressers and it was the first week this year that spending beat the equivalent week in 2019.

Link to the article

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