Entertainment-seeking Brits splashed out in August: Barclaycard

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FILE PHOTO: Festival goers watch Declan McKenna perform on the main stage at Reading Festival

LONDON (Reuters) - British consumer spending jumped last month thanks to a post-lockdown splurge on holidays at home and entertainment, payment card company Barclaycard said on Tuesday.

Spending rose by 15.4% last month compared with its pre-pandemic level in August 2019, marked by higher spending across all categories apart from international travel, Barclaycard said.

Theatres, music festivals and theme parks saw a big jump in spending.

"Socialising, shopping, and staycations were top of the agenda for Brits in August, as families and friends made the most of the school holidays, giving a welcome boost to hospitality and leisure businesses," said Raheel Ahmed, Barclaycard head of consumer products.

Other surveys have pointed to a recent slowdown in Britain's economy after an initial surge following the relaxation of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

A separate survey from the British Retail Consortium on Tuesday showed retail spending rose 3.0% in August compared with a year ago, with clothing stores performing strongly - something echoed by the Barclaycard report.

Still, the BRC said this marked a slowdown from annual growth of 6.4% in July.

"As post-lockdown pent-up demand has softened, the growth in retail sales we have seen over the past few months slowed for August. Nonetheless, we still saw growth above pre-pandemic levels, as people returned to stores in greater numbers," said BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce)

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