UK diners head back out, shoppers rise too after COVID rules eased

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LONDON (Reuters) – The number of people going out to restaurants in Britain jumped last week after the lifting of coronavirus-related restrictions in England, and there were also increases in spending on credit and debit cards and in visits to shops, data showed on Thursday.

Online restaurant bookings via OpenTable in the week to Jan. 31 were 106% of their level in the same week of 2020, up 9 percentage points on a week earlier.

Credit and debit card purchases, as measured by the Bank of England’s CHAPS interbank payments system, rose to 90% of their level before the pandemic on a non-seasonally adjusted basis in the week to Jan. 27, up from 87% the week before.

Retail footfall in the week to Jan. 29 rose to 82% of its level in the same week of 2019, up 2% from the week before and the third weekly increase in a row, the Office for National Statistics said.

(Reporting by William Schomberg; editing by William James)

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