Thursday, August 30, 2012

Economy: The Consumer Mantra

Europe in a crisis? China is cooling? Fiscal cliff? The U.S. consumers don`t give a f…k. They are ignoring the doom & gloom sentiment in the media and keep spending. I have been writing this for around a year like a mantra. Today we got more evidence for the resilience of the U.S. consumers.

Retailers are crushing it with a late month surge in back-to-school spending boosting monthly sales numbers, writes Seeking Alpha ( Excluding drugstores, same-store sales (excluding shop openings and closings) in August rose 5.9%, beating estimates for a 4.2% increase, reports Bloomberg (bloomberg). The bigger the retailer, the better the numbers with Target, Gap, Costco, and Limited Brands leading the charge (seekingalpha). Same-store sales at Gap, the biggest U.S. specialty-apparel retailer, climbed 9%, beating the average analyst projection for a 5.5%. Macy’s, the department-store chain, posted a 5.1% increase in same-store sales, topping the 3.3% (bloomberg).

This morning we also got news that Americans stepped up spending in July for the first time in three months (). Purchases increased 0.4% after being little changed in June.

The U.S. consumers benefit from 3 factors: Rising incomes (in July U.S. incomes climbed 0.3% for a third month in spite of the sluggish job market), climbing stock prices (the S&P 500 gained around 15% since August 2011) and the recovering housing market.

I reckon that the solid consumer spending (around 2 thirds of the economy) will preserve the economic upswing in the U.S. Rising U.S. consumer spending means climbing exports for Volkswagen, Adidas, Samsung et. al. and should therefore contribute to stabilize the ailing European economies and rekindle the Asian economies.

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