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Era of affordable luxury opens as shoppers shrug off austerity fatigue

Three weeks after the festive trading season, a picture has emerged of British households starting to treat themselves a little after years of austerity. Wm Morrison sold 26% more smoked salmon than a year earlier; Sainsbury's said sales of its Taste the Difference range were up 18%, and Fortnum & Mason said its sales were up 15% over Christmas. At the other end of the market, Poundland had to issue a profits warning and Asda said it had reached a 'nadir'. However, a study by the Retail Think Tank has found that shopping habits are 'changing fundamentally', and that more money in consumers' pockets is 'not hitting the retail tills'. The survey suggested that the rise of 'experience' spending – on day trips and beauty treatments, for example – has replaced retail therapy.

 

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