An Asda poll of its customers has revealed a “gloomy” picture with shoppers feeling pessimistic about budgets and spending.

The second Asda Mumdex, released today, revealed overall economic confidence has slipped by 16% in the last quarter.

The grocer’s mums’ gloom is driven by a significant increase in their pessimism about the future of their family’s quality of life, down from 23% optimism in February to net 6% this quarter.

The cost of raising children remains mums’ top challenge of parenting - while they feel powerless to improve job opportunities and education, 68% of Asda Mums are protecting the money they have to spend on their children.

Asda has seen this replicated in its stores, with sales of kids treats like magazines and small toys up 11% year on year.

Following a row over retail employment earlier this year, half the 4,000 mothers who shop at Asda supported government apprenticeships as a way to reduce the level of youth unemployment.

Asda chief operating officer Judith McKenna said: “What this quarter’s Mumdex makes clear is that it’s tough and getting tougher. Mums have one eye on balancing the day-to-day, and the other firmly on the future and what it holds for their kids.

“While economists and politicians are talking about a double dip recession and austerity measures, what concerns mums most are the real long-term consequences for their kids.

“They can handle the here and now, but they’re less sure about the impact for their families in the years ahead.”

The Mumdex is timed to be released each quarter alongside Asda and Walmart’s results. Asda reported a 2.2% uplift in like-for-like sales for the 12 weeks to March 31 last Thursday.