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Spending on groceries fell despite a surge in overall consumer expenditure, the latest data from Barclaycard reveals.

Supermarket spending fell 0.4% between 29 March and 25 April compared with 30 March and 26 April 2014, which was attributed to the impact of falling food prices.

Spending on petrol also fell – down 10% – leading to a 2.9% dip in overall spending on essential items, according to Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of all card transactions in the UK.

Spend at general merchandise discount retailers [non-grocery] rocketed 10.4%.

Overall consumer spending increased 4.5% in real terms - the highest monthly growth since 2011.

Chris Wood, managing director at Barclaycard, said:

“Great weather, favourable economic conditions and the Easter holidays have culminated in a bumper month for consumer spending in April. Since Easter also fell in April last year, this is not a distorted picture and indicates a growing confidence sustained from the first quarter of this year.”

Low inflationary pressure was helping consumers to loosen the purse strings on non-essential spending, in particular, he said.