June 20, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT
Green Shoots On The Cards As Going Out Is Back In Fashion
NORWICH, ENGLAND, June 20, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Spending on going out climbed by 25% in the first quarter of 2009 as credit card customers splashed out, new analysis* from Virgin Money Credit Card shows.

The figures suggest a return in confidence on the High Street although the spending was boosted by the late Easter, Virgin Money says.

Spending in bars, cinemas, restaurants and theatres climbed to GBP20 million in the first three months of 2009 compared with GBP16 million in the same period last year, spending data from the UK's fastest-growing credit card with more than a million customers shows.

The biggest jump came in March 2009 when spending was more than 55% up compared with the same month in 2008 providing further evidence of a revival on the High Street.

And the rising trend in putting entertainment on the plastic was confirmed by figures for April which showed around GBP6.7 million spent in bars, restaurants, cinemas and theatres - a 26% rise on April 2008.

Grant Bather, spokesman at Virgin Money, said: "Analysis of our customers' spending shows that they are more willing to spend on entertainment and leisure which is a sign of a return of confidence.

"Previously we have seen a slowdown in spending on leisure as people tightened their belts and were less willing to spend unless it was on essentials.

"The effect of the late Easter this year may have boosted spending as people have gone out over the long weekend but this is an indication of some green roots if not quite green shoots.

"The spending is responsible as there are no signs of people getting into debt and customers should be careful to spend what they can afford and to have a plan for repaying any debt."

The Virgin credit card offers 0.0% per annum on card purchases for three months from the date of account opening and 16 months 0.0% per annum on balance transfers to new customers (plus a handling fee of 2.98%). The typical rate is 16.6% APR variable.

Notes to Editors

* Virgin Money credit card spending data 2008 and 2009

For further information:

Grant Bather, Public Relations Manager, Virgin Money
+447834844427
Kevan Reilly/Billy Partridge, Citigate Dewe Rogerson
0207 282 1096 or 0207 282 2863

About Virgin Money Credit Card

The Virgin Credit Card is promoted by Virgin Money Limited and issued by MBNA Europe Bank Limited, Registered Office: Stansfield House, Chester Business Park, Chester CH4 9QQ. Registered in England number 2783251. Credit is available, subject to status, only to UK residents aged 18 or over. As the Virgin Credit Card is issued by MBNA you can't transfer a balance from another credit card issued by them. We will monitor or record some phone calls. MBNA is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

About Virgin Money

Virgin Money is Virgin's financial services arm and was established in 1995.

Virgin Money has over two million customers and offers a wide range of financial products across lending (e.g. credit cards and personal loans), savings (e.g. deposits, investments and pensions) and protection (e.g. life insurance, home insurance and car insurance) to the UK market.

Virgin Money Personal Financial Service Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Registered Office: Discovery House, Whiting Road, Norwich NR4 6EJ. Registered in England no. 3072766. Entered on the Financial Services Register (www.fsa.gov.uk/register), Register Number: 179271

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