June 23, 2008, 12:00 AM

ShopLocal index up 28% in May as shoppers look for bargains

ShopLocal’s index of visits and page views to retailers’ web-based sales circulars rose 28% last month compared with May 2007 as consumers continued to shop for deals in a tough economy.

ShopLocal’s index of visits and page views to retailers’ web-based sales circulars rose 28% last month compared with May 2007 as consumers continued to shop for deals in a tough economy.

The home and garden category had the healthiest growth, rising 43% year over year, followed by the food and drug category, which increased 33% from May 2007, ShopLocal says. The department store and mass merchant category experienced a 34% year-over-year increase, and consumer electronics and office supplies had a 20% increase.

The increase in the index reflects in part the $120 billion in tax rebate checks mailed by the federal government in April and May, says Vikram Sharma, ShopLocal CEO.

“The ShopLocal Index supports the Commerce Department report that while the stimulus package had a positive impact across retail categories, the home and garden category saw the largest year-over-year sales growth,” Sharma says. “In this time of rising food and gas prices, the resilient consumer used the web to get the most out of these checks for some seasonal shopping.”

ShopLocal registered 251 million page views from 21 million visits to the online circulars it hosts for the web sites of 50 U.S. retailers, including J.C. Penney, Best Buy, Walgreens and Home Depot. Those numbers put the index at 177 for the month, compared to a benchmark of 100 in January 2006.

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