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As Omicron spreads, consumers spend on goods, not services

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

Dec 12, 2021

Retail

Image: Primark

The latest information concerning the Covid-19 variant Omicron shows infections in the UK could double every two days.

This would clarify why British households are spending more on goods and less on services, according to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

As was reported by the Retail Gazette, credit and debit card spending in Britain was at its highest over Black Friday with restaurant bookings at its lowest, suggesting consumers are keen to complete their Christmas shopping before any restrictions are introduced.

Many retailers are concerned of new lockdown measures to be announced in the coming weeks during the year’s peak trading period. From Monday 13 December the Government is urging everyone to work from home where possible.

Figures compiled by Pantheon Macroeconomics show a drop in the numbers of people booking tables in restaurants, going to the cinema, going shopping or searching for information about pubs, gyms and hairdressers on Google since the news about Omicron emerged, said the BBC.

“It seems that consumers’ confidence has been knocked back by news of the new variant,” wrote Pantheon’s chief economist Samuel Tombs in a research note.

Not all retailers are concerned, however, with Primark’s sales up in comparison to last year. “In terms of the Omicron variant we haven’t really seen much of an effect on footfall,” AB Foods finance chief John Bason told Reuters. “We’re trading well over Christmas.”