What counts as "discretionary" spending?

Nov 15, 2023
Shoppers have been pulling back on "discretionary" spending at retailers.
What counts as "discretionary" spending varies from person to person, depending on their spending habits. For example, food is a necessity, but there's a difference between pantry staples and a prepared steak dinner.
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Retail group predicts record holiday spending

Nov 3, 2023
The National Retail Federation predicts at least $957 billion in sales this holiday season. But that might not mean everyone is splurging.
Prices for goods are up nearly 1% from a year ago, according to the latest PCE price index.
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Did retail sales grow because we bought more stuff, or did the stuff get more expensive?

Oct 17, 2023
The way the Census Bureau calculates its retail sales data wasn't an issue until prices started rising a couple years back.
Grocery store spending rose 0.4% in September, according to the Census Bureau.
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Furniture sellers adapt to a nationwide drop in sales

Sep 15, 2023
Sales at furniture stores have been sliding amid a cooling housing market and weakening consumer sentiment about making big purchases.
AJ Venable at Urban Links Furniture & Appliances in Baltimore. He said his customers have become more price-sensitive.
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After a flat August, this North Carolina toy store is already looking forward to the holidays

Sep 14, 2023
For this toy store owner, the biggest challenge right now is prepping for the holidays.
"We are selling a lot of Halloween products right now," said Irene Kesselman, owner of Ali Cat Toys in Carrboro, NC. "And certainly we'll move into the Christmas season shortly thereafter."
Ariel Jackson

Americans continue to spend — even as credit card and student loan payments loom

Aug 15, 2023
The July retail sales report found that Americans are spending more than last year in most categories. Will that be a problem?
Retail sales climbed for the fourth straight month in July.
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The American consumer just keeps spending

Jun 15, 2023
Retail sales surprised with a 0.3% gain in May. Nearly every category advanced despite persistent concern about inflation.
Despite continued anxiety about inflation, retail sales ticked up last month.
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For public good, not for profit.

April retail sales data add confusion to an already confusing economy

May 16, 2023
Between the pandemic and its economic ripple effects, the consumer experience has been a wild ride.
While consumers are cutting back on buying big-ticket items like appliances, there’s still pent-up demand for services.
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How a decline in home sales also trips up retail

May 16, 2023
When people buy new homes, they buy a lot of other things too, like furniture, appliances and electronics. When home buying slows, that can have a real ripple effect on other industries.
Today’s retail sales numbers showed people spent less on things like building materials and garden supplies in April than they did a year ago. Home Depot also reported today that sales dropped in the first quarter.
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Why are Ikea and Costco expanding as other retailers close stores and lay off staff?

Apr 21, 2023
Opening new stores may be a way for some retailers to position themselves for both a downturn and a recovery.
Someone who once shopped at Crate & Barrel may now feel more comfortable on an Ikea budget, which could partially explain the retailer's expansion plan.
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