Liz Truss ’caused surprise boom in lipstick sales’ | Politics | News

Liz Truss‘s mini-budget may have inadvertently caused a boom in lipstick sales, an analysis shows.

The former prime minister’s spending plan was the most radical in recent British history, with tax cuts funded through borrowing despite warnings about the impact on inflation, which was already pushing double digits ahead of Ms Truss’s premiership.

Within days of former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng revealing the plans in Parliament on September 23, 2022, financial markets were spooked, the pound plummeted and the Bank of England was forced to bail out pension funds.

Experts at global payments service Klarna now say the economic turmoil unleashed at that time may have triggered a “lipstick effect”.

In the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks, then Estée Lauder chairman Leonard Lauder spotted an uptick in lipstick sales.

He concluded products such as lipstick were a good gauge of an economy, with purchases of little luxuries getting a boost during slumps.

According to the authors of the Klarna study, rising sales of lipstick can indicate recession is on the way. Experts at the global payments service crunched sales data to see if there were any patterns.

They found that in the two months after Ms Truss’s mini-budget lipstick sales as a percentage of total sales made via Klarna increased by 48 percent.

After reaching a peak in November 2022, lipstick sales fell steadily for six months, while consumer confidence was steadily rising, according to Klarna.

As the UK entered a recession and consumer confidence started to falter from July 2023, lipstick sales grew in five of the following six months.

There “definitely” seems to be a counter-cyclical element to lipstick sales, according to the payments and shopping service.

A Klarna spokesperson told “While the Liz Truss mini-budget was disastrous in many ways, it does seem to have given lipstick sales a boost.”

Klarna noted that in January and February this year, lipstick sales fell by eight percent, suggesting there may be good economic news ahead, news which may be of some cheer to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.


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