Barclays chief executive Jes Staley believes the UK will see its biggest period of economic growth since 1948, as the government’s vaccination programme enables the high street to re-open.
“I think there will be a very robust recovery,” Staley told the BBC.
“There’s so much pent-up demand and there’s money available to exercise that demand; I think the economy will do pretty well.”
Retail sales have impressed analysts and beaten seasonal norms for the first time this year as the re-opening of non-essential retail brought a boost to the economy.
According to the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) monthly Distributive Trades Survey, April’s retail sales volumes were seen as “good” for the first time this year and the best since 2018.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed shopper’s basket spend increased by 7.3 per cent in March compared with the same a month earlier as nationwide lockdowns start to ease.
Sales were also up 5.5 per cent when compared with February, March seeing sales beating pre-pandemic figures unlike in January and February, despite non-essential retail still being shut.
“As we enter the next phase of this pandemic, we remain resolute in our commitment to support the economic recovery,” Staley added.
“From our spend data, which captures UK economic activity across our cards and acquiring businesses, we are already seeing encouraging early signs of recovery in some sectors, including those hit hardest by the crisis.”
Barclays has also announced a finance partnership with Amazon, which will be extended to the UK after launching first in Germany.