Consumer confidence grew in March, thanks to overall economic growth and prospects of wage increases “finally” outstripping inflation.

Overall shopper sentiment climbed three points to -7 this month, according to GfK data.

While the index is still negative, increases on measures across the board indicate that confidence is improving. 

GfK head of experience innovation Joe Staton said: “Despite the Beast from the East leaving the nation shivering under a blanket of snow, stoic UK consumers turned faintly bullish this March.

“The prospect of wage rises finally outstripping declining inflation, high levels of employment with low-level interest rates, and finally some movement on the Brexit front, appear to have boosted our spirits.” 

Shoppers’ perception of their personal financial situation over the past twelve months improved by three points to +3, while the forecast for personal finances over the next year increased five points to +10.

The major purchase and savings indexes improved slightly to +2 and +13, respectively.

‘The right direction’

The measure of the general economic situation during the last twelve months also improved slightly, although it remains negative at -26. 

However, Staton warned of overestimating the significance of this month’s shift.

He said: “It’s still a little early to be talking about green-shoots, and the core score is of course still negative, but this is definitely a movement in the right direction.

“Consumers are feeling a tiny spring in their step – let’s see next month if April showers dampen the mood.”