RAPAPORT... In Gallup's monthly survey of U.S. consumer spending, shoppers reported that their average daily spending was $73 in July 2012, down just $1 from the average recorded a year ago. Gallup noted that while short-term daily spending trends have changed only slightly, the broader pace of spending has been slowly increasing in the past 12 months.
Gallup also found that households with incomes greater than $90,000 are driving the increase. In July, upper income households spent a daily average of $126 compared with $121 in July 2011. Daily trends from those earning less than $90,000 were unchanged at $59. The average household income in the U.S. is about $49,000.
The group noted that even though U.S. consumers appear more willing to spend this year, the daily average remains far below the level measured in 2008 and is ''perhaps not enough to bring the United States out of its economic slump.''
Meanwhile, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) reported that U.S. chain-store sales in July rose 4.6 percent, excluding drug stores. The figure was much stronger than ICSC anticipated.
''The pace of sales in July improved appreciably over last month,'' said Michael P. Niemira, ICSC's vice president of research and chief economist. ''July is typically dominated by summer clearance so this stronger than expected performance is particularly encouraging, especially after the softer three-month run we have just been through in the industry and the overall economy.''
Nonetheless, chain-store sales were uneven in July with the luxury goods sector showing the softest growth at 1.3 percent. ICSC determined that a shifting promotional cycle weakened the luxury sector, which, up until this point, had been the leading growth category.
ICSC research expects August chain-store sales to increase by 4 percent to 5 percent, excluding drug stores.