Property Week has reported that consumer confidence has improved since the start of the year despite fears that rising inflation would put increased pressure on household finances. The full article can be accessed here.

The article uses data from Redwood client Realm, the UK’s market-leading operator of outlet retail, as well as findings from CACI and the British Retail Consortium.

CACI research has revealed that confidence levels stood at 12% in March, up from 8.7% in December. The improvement in confidence follows warnings that retail sales could come under pressure in the next few months. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, warned last month that “with a cocktail of rising costs and slowing wage growth as the backdrop, conditions for consumers will get tougher”.

However, the piece recognises that some parts of the retail market appear better placed to weather potential storms than others. The outlet sector has shown particularly strong growth. Sales totalled £2.6bn in 2016, an increase of 8.8% on 2015, and 2017 looks set to be another good year for the sector, according to retail outlet operator Realm. It reported that sales at its schemes in the weeks surrounding Easter Sunday were up 19% on the same period last year, while footfall was up 18%.

“We have seen an increase in footfall across the board, in spite of consumers’ more prudent spending habits, and importantly this has been converted to spend at each scheme,” says Colin Brooks, managing director of Realm.