Britons are shopping for holidays, says Primark
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain may be heading for a recession but many of its citizens are heading for the sun and shopping accordingly, the finance chief of clothing retailer Primark's owner said on Monday.
After a tough 2022, British consumers are facing a further squeeze on their finances this year as the government cuts back support on household energy bills and mortgage rates rise.
Earlier this month, the Bank of England forecast a recession starting in early 2023 and lasting into early 2024.
However, that is not deterring Britons from spending on holidays, with several airlines and holiday operators having recently reported robust forward bookings.
"In terms of January and February I think an interesting lead indicator here is the fact that hot weather or beachwear is well up," John Bason, finance director of Associated British Foods, told Reuters, also noting strong sales of luggage.
"People are planning or have planned their holidays for this year," he said.
"Last year we were talking about people really wanted the holiday that they had not had during lockdown, well it seems to me they certainly want another one this year."
Bason was speaking after AB Foods raised its full year outlook and said Primark's first half to March 4 sales were expected to be up 16% on a constant currency basis.
He also highlighted strong sales of formal wear as Britons increased the frequency of their trips to the office and a big increase in sales of beauty products.
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young)