Sluggish Housing Market Continues to Impact Electronics, Appliances and Furnishing Sales
Data Source: A macroeconomic indicator, SpendingPulse reports on national retail and services sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and check. MasterCard SpendingPulse does not represent MasterCard financial performance. SpendingPulse is provided by MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide.
Purchase, N.Y. August 4, 2011 MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, a macroeconomic report tracking national retail and services sales, today provided summary results for the performance of specific U.S. retail industries in July 2011. Apparel continued to show gains, while housing-related sectors like Electronics, Appliances, and Furniture remained in negative territory. Lastly, Auto Parts and Service posted its first decline after five months of growth.
Michael McNamara, VP of Research and Analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, observed that the mixed results reflected a number of factors. Sector weaknesses are the result of a variety of drivers. The sluggish housing market is reflected in a sixth consecutive month of losses in Furniture and Furnishings. Further, consumers were paying about $1.00 more per gallon of gasoline this month than they were in July 2010. At about 10.9 billion gallons pumped this July, that price increase is redirecting almost $11 billion per month towards gasoline spending and away from other areas of consumer spending, or savings.
McNamara noted that continued high gas prices may also be showing their effect in the first monthly drop in Automotive sales after five months of increases, as well as in Restaurants, where all of the subsectors posted their lowest growth rates in several months. The combined highs in temperature and gasoline may be keeping people off of the roads, he said. And that could also be behind the continued strength of e-Commerce.
Here are a few details for some specific U.S. retail sectors for July 2011:
Up 14.0% over July 2010, e-Commerce posted its 24th straight month of year-over-year growth, and its 9th consecutive month of double-digit growth, with improvement in every subcategory except for Electronics. It is worth noting that the 14% year-over-year growth for the overall category was the smallest increase for e-Commerce since February 2011, and is an expected seasonal slowing.
The SpendingPulse Luxury Index (excluding Jewelry) showed particularly robust growth. Up 11.6% year over year, this is the largest increase since April 2010. The SpendingPulse Luxury category includes luxury sales at high-end restaurants, food stores, department stores and general apparel categories.
Specialty Apparel continued to do well. Up 6.2% over July 2010, it was slightly better than the year-over-year results for May and June.
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