High street sales are remaining sluggish as consumers are becoming more and more wary of spending money on credit and store cards.
A survey has revealed that store cards sales were down by a massive 21% in March, compared with the same month last year, and store instalment credit was also down by 28%.
Credit card spending was also down 8% as consumers spent on their debit cards and were reluctant to increase their overall debt levels.
Trade body for the consumer credit industry, the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) released the figures which show that disposable income is decreasing as wage growth remains non existent.
With cost of living increases, particularly energy and petrol bills affecting consumers, the high street is feeling the pinch harder than most.
Fiona Hoyle from the FLA revealed, “Our figures accord with a number of recent surveys showing that consumer confidence in the economy remains low.”
“As a result, consumers are wary about spending and taking on additional financial commitments.”
Ms Hoyle also revealed that FLA members lent £4.8billion to their customers in March for household essentials, showing just how important the consumer lending process is to the survival of many households.
Halifax research last months also showed that the cost of owning and running a house had increased by an average of 1.4%, compared with March last year, despite interest rates remaining at just 0.5% for over two years.
An increase in inflation, currently 4.5%, and food price increases have added to the petrol and energy price rises due to the cost of oil.
Those looking for a cheaper area to live should head to the North east where the annual cost of running a home is just £7,420, considerably lower than London where the average cost is £11,783.