Customer purchases grew in the second quarter of the year despite Brexit uncertainty, with sales rising in the week following the EU referendum.

Credit card

Credit card

The majority of consumers “avoided a knee-jerk reaction to the outcome of the EU referendum”

Shoppers spending proved resilient in May and June, up 3.6% following sluggish 1.9% growth in April, according to Barclaycard.

The result of the Brexit vote did not trigger an immediate tightening of purse strings for shoppers as sales rose 2.14% on a week-on-week basis in the aftermath of the EU referendum.

Sales during the quarter rose 3.1% overall driven by increased customer spending on leisure activities, with spending in pubs and restaurants up 12.1% and 11.6% respectively.

By contrast, clothing was one of the worst performing categories, recording a 1.3% increase overall compounded by women’s fashion purchasing edging up just 0.6%.

Barclaycard’s managing director Paul Lockstone said: “While it’s too soon to draw long-term conclusions on how spending and sentiment have been affected by the outcome of the referendum, the early indication is that the majority of consumers avoided a knee-jerk reaction.

“Spending grew in the week immediately following the vote, suggesting that shoppers were pleased that the uncertainty that has hung over the economy had at least in part been lifted.”

Although 52% of shoppers said they did not foresee their household finances decreasing as a result of the vote, others took a less positive view.

Of the 43% that did believe their household finances would deteriorate, 76% said that they expected the UK to return to a recession as a result of Brexit while 81% anticipated the prices of everyday items increasing.

“With some sectors experiencing surprising fluctuations across the weekly and monthly analyses – notably entertainment and leisure – it’s difficult to predict how and where shoppers will continue to spend their money,” said Lockstone.

“For many, however, it seems to be a case of business as usual as we wait to see what the future holds.”