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Fashion victim

Perhaps shopaholics might revert back to being just chocoholics if they truly realised the extent of their frivolous spending. Reality bites as we tot up the figures

Published on March 5th 2007.

Fashion victim

Women have always loved to shop but a new survey shows that the odd treat at Primark has turned into a hard-core obsession. Shopaholics are now rife in Britain with over 750,000 offenders.

The survey conducted by uSwitch discovered there are now 765,642 shopaholics in Britain, indulging themselves monthly to the tune of almost £200 compared with the average fashion spend of almost £90.

And these guilty weekly pleasures are also making shopaholics into little sneaks with almost half a million British women admit to nudging fashion buys onto their partner's credit card, whilst 16% said they have lied about their spending.

Due to their passion for fashion, shopaholics now have an average personal shopping debt of £8,092.97.

USwitch director of consumer policy, Ann Robinson, blamed the country's obsession with celebrities and people trying to copy their lifestyles.

She said: "Fat used to be a feminist issue but it looks like it has been overtaken by debt.

"In today's celebrity-obsessed society where women emulate the lifestyles and shopping habits of their favourite fashionistas, it is not surprising that women are becoming more interested in Size O than 0% APR."

Being a shopaholic is "all gain, no pain" due to the easy access to loans, credit cards and store cards today. An overwhelming 72% admitted to using a mix of credit and store cards, overdrafts and loans to fund their shopping sprees. They then compound their unsecured debt by taking an average of more than 11 months to ditch their debt.

A typical shopaholic is someone who, on average, earns £18,959 a year, has £4,485 in savings and another £10,525 tucked away for a rainy day.

They tend to be under 25, spend 14% of their disposable income on fashion and are found mainly in cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol.

USwitch also revealed the "true cost of clothing" to show how the cost of fashion items can escalate if borrowers only make minimum repayments on their credit cards.

A Chloe Edith leather shoulder bag would initially cost £738 but if it was repaid through minimum repayments it would end up costing the shopper £1,418.01 - almost double.

Britain's Top 10 biggest fashion-spending cities and their average spend per woman per annum are as follows:
Birmingham £1,813.56
Glasgow £1,394.04
Newcastle £1,383,84
London £1,379.52
Bristol £1,336.56
Cardiff £1,252.08
Manchester £1,219.32
Leeds £1,080.12
Sheffield £1,063.68
Edinburgh £1,005.48

Vanessa Lees

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