Merton shoppers welcomed the return of non-essential shops last week with a spending spree, figures suggest.

On April 12, shops, outdoor restaurants, and hairdressers were among the venues that were given the go ahead to reopen after months of closures.

The banking firm Revolut analysed the data of 39,000 of its customers in Merton between April 12 and 18, comparing it to the average weekly spend in February 2020, before lockdown started.

Revolut reported that shoppers in Merton spent 65% more on average last week than normal– with T K Maxx being the most popular shop.

The first day of trading saw even higher levels of spending, with 138% more splurged than the average Monday in February of last year.

Retail spending increased 92% across England as a whole, the firms figures show.

Credit: Radar

Credit: Radar

Revolut said the data shows there is strong demand right across the country, with many people eager to spend savings built up since non-essential shops closed on January 5.

Spokesman Nicholas Taylor said: "Importantly, spending was up across the whole week – rather than just the first day – suggesting that consumer confidence is resilient.

"This is great news for the thousands of local pubs, cafes and shops, and the millions of people they employ."

The British Retail Consortium said stores have worked hard to provide customers with a "safe and enjoyable" shopping experience, and it expects footfall to increase as more outlets reopen.

With bars lacking outdoor space not able to serve drinks yet, spending in Merton pubs was 44% down on February last year.

However, the Revolut data suggests pub-goers spent much more than usual when buying rounds.

The average transaction in pubs in the area was £22.78 last week – up 53% on the typical spend across an average week before the pandemic, of £14.86.

Merton drinkers spent much more than the average round across England last week, of £16.03.

Hospitality data specialists at CGA said operational constraints and the unpredictable British weather mean three in four venues in England are still closed.

Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director, added: "While some may open over the next few weeks, we will have to wait another four weeks until it is feasible for many hospitality venues to reopen again.

"Until then, operators deserve support from local authorities to make the most of outdoor trading space – not to mention some sunshine.”