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Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Consumer optimism fizzles in summer heat

August 5, 2009

shop11Check out the recession-battered consumer in a new Discover survey.

Consumer attitudes continue to weaken according to Discover’s U.S. Spending Monitor for July, as results fell for the second consecutive month to 83.5 (out of 100) from 85.6.

Translation: Growing pessimism about the economy and personal finances has more consumers planning overall spending cuts.

Only 21 percent expect to spend more in the month ahead, a 2-point decline from June.

“The optimism consumers showed about the economy during the spring has faded during the summer,” Discover Financial Services senior vice president Julie Loeger said in a statement. “Unemployment is still rising and while some are saying the worst is over, the majority of consumers surveyed … don’t feel that way. Until they do, consumers are unlikely to start spending again.”

It doesn’t appear that consumers are taking what they aren’t spending to the bank. Discover said 42 percent expect to save or invest less in the month ahead, tying a high for its monitor survey. Only 9 percent expect to save or invest more — you guessed it, a low for the survey.

Overall, 61 percent of those surveyed rated the current economic conditions as poor, a 2-point increase from June, Discover said. Only 32 percent of consumers surveyed rate their finances as good or excellent (another new low), while 25 percent rate them as poor (tying the high).

Meanwhile, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said planned playoffs at U.S. firms rose in July for the first time in six months, signaling more uneasy times for workers.

Also in the basket:

P&G profit falls, sales light, shares skid

Polo profit soars past Street view; shares up

Adidas Q2 beats estimates, says worst behind it

Dean Foods posts higher quarterly profit

Macy’s Adapts to Weaker Sales as Customers Seek Deals (Wall Street Journal)

(Reuters photo)

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