Page last updated at 11:46 GMT, Thursday, 14 January 2010

Recession takes shine off shoes

Shoes on sale
There were many bargains about at the end of 2008

Families cut their spending on shoes and clothes as the recession started to bite in the UK in 2008, official figures have revealed.

Sartorial spending in 2008 declined to its lowest level since 2001-2, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Overall average household spending rose to £471 a week in the UK in 2008, up from £459.20 the previous year.

The figures also showed that households in Wales spent the least.

Price cuts

Northern Ireland: £479.70
England: £465.20
Scotland: £432.80
Wales: £406.70
Source: ONS

The UK economy officially entered recession during 2008, having started to shrink in the second quarter of the year.

The cut-back in spending on clothing and footwear may signal people's desire to cut back on discretionary spending during the year.

However, it could also point to the big discounts being offered by stores towards the end of that year. Retailers had found themselves loaded with Christmas stock at a time when the banking crisis led to turmoil in the UK economy.


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In its annual family spending report, the ONS also shows spending after stripping out the effects of inflation. This reveals that, at 2008 prices, the average amount households spent had dipped compared with the previous year.

In fact, the figures show a continuing drop in spending - stripping out the effects of inflation - every year since 2004-5.


The figures show that transport continued to take up the biggest chunk of household expenditure in 2008.

Bar chart compares spending - 2004/5 with 2008

Some £63.40 a week was spent on transport - including a significant proportion on petrol - although the amount spent on buying vehicles fell.

Recreation and culture (£60.10) was the second highest spending sector, followed by housing, fuel and power (£53) - but this figure excluded mortgage interest payments.

Households spent more eating in than eating out. Food and non-alcoholic drinks took up £50.70 of spending compared with £37.70 on restaurants and hotels.

Country dwellers also spent out more than those in towns and cities, the ONS said. Average spending, owing to higher transport and recreation costs, stood at £505.40 for households in rural areas and £446.70 for those in built-up areas.

Households in Northern Ireland were the biggest spenders, those in Wales spent the least.

In England, the north-south divide was clear, with above-average spending in London, the South East, the East and the South West, and the lowest level of spending in the North East.

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