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Andrea Felsted

British Consumers Are Finally Starting to Crack

Consumer confidence in the UK is slumping, as higher bills for energy, fuel and groceries weigh on consumers. 

Last haul for a while.

Last haul for a while.

Photographer: DANIEL LEAL/AFP

The remarkable strength of the UK consumer is finally starting to crack. Higher bills for household energy, more expensive fuel, pricier groceries and rising interest rates are beginning to take their toll on shoppers.

Consumer confidence slumped in April, as energy prices soared and national insurance contributions rose. GfK’s measure of consumer confidence slumped to -38, a level last seen in the early 1990s as well as in 2008. Of particular note is the GfK index that tracks how people feel about making a major purchase: The most recent data suggest Brits don’t think this is a good time to buy expensive items such as furniture or cars.