Consumer confidence improved again in February and people are more optimistic about the year ahead.

Gfk NOP’s Consumer Confidence Index, compiled on behalf of the European Commission, rose by three points month on month to -14. In February 2009 the score was -35.

Confidence in the economy over the next 12 months improved six points to +4, versus -40 a year ago. Attitudes about the climate for major purchases were flat month on month at -16, up from -24 in February last year. People’s confidence in their personal financial situation over the next 12 months improved two points to +6 compared to -8 this time last year.

Singer analyst Matthew McEachran said: “Taking this data at face value would suggest that spending trends could now revert back to positive territory after the bad weather dented growth in January, in spite of the VAT rise.

“Variable weather patterns, though, and stronger comparatives at points through the spring could result in volatile trends between now and the elections, depending on the category.”