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Barclaycard buoyed by August bank holiday spending surge

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A surge in spending on leisure, entertainment and eating out in the UK made the August bank holiday the busiest for consumer activity since the pre-pandemic Christmas of 2019, Barclaycard has said.

Figures from the card payment company show individuals were undeterred by weather that felt like autumn and rising Covid-19 infections, with transactions 14.4% up on the same long weekend in 2020 and 9.4% higher than in 2019.

Office for National Statistics data had indicated a levelling off in credit and debit card spending, which some analysts attributed to a more cautious mood among consumers after the spread of the Delta variant.

But Barclaycard – which accounts for £1 in every £3 spent on credit and debit cards – said spending had been especially strong in certain sectors at the weekend, resulting in more transactions on Saturday and Sunday than on any day since Christmas Eve 2019.

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Rob Cameron, the chief executive Barclaycard Payments, said: “This is hopefully a sign of more positive times to come, and a testament to the strength and resilience of British businesses when it comes to adapting and thriving in a post-lockdown world.

“The sectors where we’ve witnessed particularly strong growth – leisure and entertainment, and food and drink – demonstrate that consumers certainly haven’t lost their appetite for a celebration.”

In the leisure and entertainment sector, transaction volumes were up 37.2 % compared with last year, and were 26.8% higher than in 2019.

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Barclaycard said there had also been growth in the food and drink sector – which was boosted last year by the government’s eat out to help out discounts. Activity was up by 20.3% on 2020 and by 14.5% on the August bank holiday in 2019.