Consumers losing their confidence

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Consumer morale eased last month from January’s five-month high as shoppers grew more worried about their jobs, showed a survey from building society Nationwide, published yesterday.

The figures chime with February retail sales data released on Thursday, which showed the biggest monthly drop in sales volumes for nine months. Nationwide said its consumer confidence index dropped to 44 in February from 47 in January, more than 30 points below its long-run average, though it holds above the record lows seen in the final quarter of 2011.

There was a deterioration in consumers’ assessment of the economic situation, the future and their willingness to spend. Economist Robert Gardner said: “Weak labour market conditions combined with weaker-than-expected economic growth are continuing to weigh on confidence.”