Pain at the Pump

High prices at the pump are a legitimate excuse for slumping sales, according to a recent How America Shops PULSE survey. The survey, from WSL Strategic Retail, New York City, confirms something WSL has observed over the past three years: The more gas prices increase, the more shoppers reduce their driving and spending. What’s more, the cutbacks have now moved beyond lower-income consumers to include middle-income shoppers as well.

Fifty percent of the respondents surveyed said they are driving less because of increasing gas prices, and 40% said they are spending less when they shop. On top of the “cutback” list: fashion accessories (70% cutting back), eating out (67%), home decor (65%) take-out foods (63%) and specialty take-out coffee (59%).

The categories least likely to be affected by cutbacks are prescription drugs, OTC medications, cell-phone service, premium cable and hair/skin.

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