Oaten concludes : “ Leisure spending is a good indicator of consumer confidence and the overall direction of the UK economy . Following a period of favourable conditions , including low inflation , unemployment and interest rates , consumers feel generally positive and have sufficient disposable income to justify spending on non-essential leisure activities .”
The report also revealed consumers ’ leisure spending intentions in the first three months of 2017 and , with the exception of holidays and the gym , consumers expect to spend the same or less in most categories .
Oaten adds : “ In the first three months of 2017 , 18-34-year-olds are expecting to spend less on eating and drinking out than they did in the final quarter of 2016 . This is a typical trend for the season , with health-conscious consumers keen to get over the January blues .”
“ Get ready for new food hygiene rules , or risk losing nearly half your customers ”
Almost half ( 44 %) of customers could physically turn away from the front doors of more than 43,000 restaurants , takeaways , cafés and pubs when food businesses in England are legally required to display their food hygiene ratings , according to research by commercial insurer NFU Mutual .
The NFU Mutual Food Hygiene Ratings Report , this month , reveals that 44 % of people would turn away from even their favourite places to eat and try somewhere else instead , if a food hygiene rating of less than four out of five was on display .
Darren Seward of NFU Mutual comments : “ Our report shows that when it comes to food safety , customers have naturally high standards and a ‘ good ’ score can no longer be seen as an aspiration but a minimum benchmark .
“ It ’ s fantastic to see that over 82 % of all hospitality-sector food outlets in England have a rating of good or very good and the
industry as a whole is taking real pride in food hygiene - but imminent compulsory displays are destined to be a game changer for those businesses struggling to reach the top grades .
“ In advance of legislation changes , all business owners should prioritise their food hygiene plans and processes , acting now to ensure that they have considered all hygiene and paperwork aspects rated by their local authority including cleanliness , structure and confidence in management , to ensure a continued rating of 4 or 5 for the day an inspector calls .”
The report , which assesses consumer attitudes , public support for new legislation and its potential impact , shows that in total over 65,000 - almost one in seven - relevant businesses across England , Wales and Northern Ireland have a food hygiene rating of three ( generally satisfactory ) or below – with over 43,000 of these being catering and hospitality businesses in England .