Retail Sales Cresting?
Retail sales at major chains, a barometer on consumer spending fell in April as rising gas prices cut into disposable income. The Commerce Department comes out with its April retail sales numbers tomorrow.
The outlook for consumer spending in the coming months grew dimmer Thursday after big retailers stumbled in April, their sales hurt by rising gasoline prices and the weak housing market.
“Consumers are feeling pressured by higher gasoline prices and a sluggish housing market, particularly low and middle income consumers,” said Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics LLC, a research company in Swampscott, Mass.
While analysts will be closely watching how May fares since the month will provide a better indication of the health of the consumer, concerns are rising that shoppers can no longer bear the weight of the economy’s woes.
“The slowdown is at hand,” said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers.
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