March 3, 2006, 12:00 AM

Consumer spending intentions rise in March, Retail Forward reports

Consumer spending intentions are at their highest level since September, reports Retail Forward`s Future Spending Index. For March, the Future Spending Index stood at 101.6, up from 99.6 in February.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Consumer spending intentions are at their highest level since September, reports consultants Retail Forward Inc.`s Future Spending Index. For March, the Future Spending Index stood at 101.6, up from 99.6 in February. Although it is at the highest level since September’s 104.6, the Index is still lower than last March’s 102.7.

"Underpinning the projected increase in sales this month are the lagging effects of the housing market boom and signs that debt loads have become less of a drag on ability to spend," said Steve Spiwak, economist with Retail Forward. "The uneven job market recovery from last year`s post-hurricane disruption will continue to discourage spending among some shoppers as spring approaches, however."

The Index is part of Retail Forward’s ShopperScape nsurvey of consumers. Other ShopperScape results show that consumers in all income levels are bargain hunters and Wal-Mart is the key player. “A startling 39% of all shoppers have visited a Wal-Mart within the past week,” Retail Forward reported. In addition, the survey shows that only 9% of consumers never shop at Wal-Mart.

Only middle market consumers-income of $22,500 to $75,000-showed less optimism in their spending plans for March. Their index slipped from 100.6 in February to 98.8 in March. Down market consumers’ index went from 99.8 in February to 110 in March; up market consumers’ from 98.5 to 101.6.

The Retail Forward ShopperScape survey is conducted online each month with a sample of 4,000 U.S. primary household shoppers. The March survey was conducted during the last week of February.

 

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