April 8, 2005, 12:00 AM

Retail spending will be up this month, Retail Forward projects

Retail spending should improve in April, says consultants Retail Forward Inc.’s Future Spending Index. The index increased from 102.7 in March to 103.9 this month.

 

Retail spending should improve in April, says consultants Retail Forward Inc.’s Future Spending Index. The index increased from 102.7 in March to 103.9 this month.

“Middle Market consumers’ shopping moods appear to be brightening after the rising pessimism expressed in the first three months of the year,” said Steve Spiwak, economist with Retail Forward. Middle market consumers have household incomes between $22,500 and $75,000. “Because they account for about half of all consumer spending, this is a good sign for the retail sector in April.”

Retail Forward says other ShopperScape results suggest that near-term spending will be strongest in the home goods categories, while apparel spending should lag last year’s strong results. “Moreover, spending should be buoyed as the shock value of rising gasoline prices lessens, even among Down Market households,” Retail Forward says.

By markets, Retail Forward reported:

• The Future Spending Index for Middle Market households improved to 102.8 in April from 99.1 the prior month. “Much more favorable views of job security, buoyant incomes and more affordable debts were the key drivers of the increase,” the company says.
• The index for Up Market households (incomes greater than $75,000) edged slightly lower in April to 105.1 from 105.9 in March. “A falloff in investment performance amid an iffy stock market and moderating home buying in this segment more than offset stronger confidence in jobs and incomes,” Retail Forward reports.
• The index for Down Market households (incomes less than $22,500) held nearly steady at 104.0 compared with 104.8 in March. “Weaker home buying and heightened concerns about jobs and incomes were balanced by easier debt loads compared with a year ago,” the report says.

The Retail Forward ShopperScape survey is conducted each month with a sample of 4,000 U.S. primary household shoppers.

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