Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Consumer optimism fizzles in summer heat


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.”

Check Out Line: Consumers cut back again in June


Check out the continued concern over the U.S. economy.

discover1Discover’s US Spending Monitor, released on Wednesday, showed that the economy is weighing more on consumers’ minds when it comes to everyday purchases.  The monitor, which began in May 2007 with a base index of 100, fell for the first time in four months, to 85.6 from 86.2.

Fifty-nine percent of the 8,200 respondents rated the economy as poor, up from 55 percent in May and the first increase since February.  Still, 33 percent rated their own finances as good or excellent, in line with May’s responses.

Check Out Line: Signs of a bottom for retail stocks


TOPSHOP/Check out Bernstein Research talking about signs of a bottom for retail stocks.

In a research note, Bernstein says that as the broader market recovered a strong 8.5 percent in March, retailers logged another month of robust performance, with a 15.9 percent return for the month.