Britons eschewing hairdressers and coffee shops for home comforts, says Currys boss

By James Davey

LONDON (Reuters) – Cash-strapped Britons are avoiding expensive trips to the hairdresser and coffee shops to save money, which has boosted demand for hair care technology and coffee machines, the boss of electricals retailer Currys said on Thursday.

With the UK in the second year of a cost-of-living crisis, Currys CEO Alex Baldock said that while consumers were spending cautiously they were treating themselves in the home.

“Two thirds of customers say that they’re not going out for expensive hairdresser appointments and they’re getting salon-level care at home, which is good for health and beauty hair care tech,” he told reporters after Currys published first half results.

“Lots of customers are saying that the 3.75 pound ($4.75) flat white is not something they’re up for this year and they want their coffee at home, which is good for bean-to-cup coffee machines,” he said.

Baldock said that with fewer people choosing to eat out, “the air fryer phenomenon still shows no sign of dying out”.

He also noted healthy demand for gaming consoles, with a bigger chunk of UK consumers’ entertainment budget being spent at home.

Baldock said UK consumer confidence was “pretty bumpy”, with only half of the effect of interest rate rises felt so far and the housing market depressed.

But on the other hand, he said climbing real wages and high levels of employment had supported demand.

Industry data published earlier this month showed British retail sales growth remained sluggish in November despite Black Friday deals, as the ongoing cost-of-living squeeze prompted shoppers to rein in spending on non-essential items.

($1 = 0.7901 pounds)

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)