Press Release

Pubs and restaurants give Brexit the brush off with 6.4%* rise in Q1 card sales

Surging foreign card spend and strong online sales present silver lining for high-street retailers

May 04, 2017

London – 4th May, 2017 – Data from payments processor Worldpay has revealed a ‘tale of two Brexits’ emerging in the first quarter of 2017, with healthy spending in the hospitality sector and a surge in foreign card spend off-setting more restrained spending by UK consumers on the high-street.

According to Worldpay, overall spending on cards was up 1.5%* year on year in the first quarter of 2017. Spending in pubs and restaurants proved particularly robust, up 6.4%* compared to 2016. Arts and leisure businesses, including tourist attractions, museums and theme parks also had a good quarter, with spending up 9.8%* year on year.

Trading conditions on the high-street proved more challenging in the first quarter however, with total UK card spending on clothing and footwear down 4.6%* compared to 2016. Department stores (-1.0%*) and electronics retailers (-4.2%*) also saw total UK card spend contract in the first quarter. Nevertheless, Worldpay points to significant growth in ecommerce and foreign card spending as potentially lucrative areas for growth among high-street retailers.

Total online spending grew 4.6%*across clothing, department stores, and electrical retailers as a grouping. And while UK consumers were a little less likely to head out on a shopping spree in the first quarter, Worldpay’s data suggests the weakness of the pound brought deep-pocketed foreign tourists to the UK in their droves.

Department stores in particular saw non-UK card spend jump by 20%* in the first quarter, while spending on electrical goods by ‘Brexit tourists’ was up 22.7%* year on year. Among the biggest spenders, American tourists spent an extra 21.5%* on their cards in the first quarter compared to 2016, while visitors from continental Europe spent an extra 14.3%*.

Commenting on the data, James Frost UK CMO, Worldpay, said: “The overall spending picture across the UK remains a positive one, but retailers in particular are needing to work harder to make every opportunity pay. Online remains a significant area of untapped potential, providing retailers with a ready means to reach free-spending international shoppers, even when they’re not hitting the West-End in search of a bargain.

“Any retailer worrying about reduced footfall right now, needs to be looking at how they bring ecommerce more closely into the mix to reach a broader catchment of shoppers, both in the UK and internationally.”

About the data
*Calculation is based on sales processed by Worldpay between Jan-Mar 2016 compared to Jan-Mar 2017, using a cohort of 298,614 UK outlets.

About Worldpay:
Worldpay is a leading payments company with global reach. We provide an extensive range of technology-led payment products and services to around 400,000 customers, enabling their businesses to grow and prosper. We manage the increasing complexity of the payments landscape for our customers, allowing them to accept the widest range of payment types around the world. Using our network and technology, we are able to process payments from geographies covering 99% of global GDP, across 146 countries and 126 currencies. We help our customers to accept more than 300 different payment types.
Worldpay UK has more than 40% market share in the UK and helps businesses of all sizes sell more to their customers by accepting card payments in-store, online, via mail or telephone, and on the move.

For more information, please contact:
Suraj Mashru, Golin : T + 44 (0) 20 7067 0494
Angela Woodward, Worldpay : T: +44 (0)203 664 2605