PURCHASE, N.Y. According to the lates report from MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, this month, more retail sectors showed a respite in year-over-year growth, as slow economic recovery appeared to weigh on the U.S. consumer’s spending behaviors.
Michael McNamara, VP research and analysis for SpendingPulse, observes, “The momentum in consumer spending that was building through the first quarter, seems to be taking a breather in the second quarter of 2010, at least so far. Financial volatility in the capital markets and ongoing macroeconomic issues could account for this shadow cast over the recovery in consumer spending. Some sectors seem to be responding to specific disruptive events, such as the expiration of the Federal housing tax credits, where previously we’d noticed a beneficial “echo” effect on housing related categories such as Furniture and Furnishings. In addition, Memorial Day occurring a week later than it did last year, could have pushed some spending into June, 2010. Nevertheless, we continue to see strength in pricing, and in most categories, we are registering solid increases in the SpendingPulse Price Index, indicating that inventories continue to be aligned to demand, and retailers have not had to return to steep discounting.”
According to the report, May was another strong month for e-commerce, with the channel seeing sales increase 13.7% over May 2009. The best performing sub-categories of e-commerce were children’s apparel and family apparel, growing 30.4% and 26.2% respectively, on a year-over-year basis.
Electronics and appliances sales were down 0.7% from last year. Consumer electronics sales fell by 0.8%, while appliance sales were flat. SpendingPulse reported that the appliance category's flat sales could be explained by expiration of the Federal Housing Credit at the end of April, while the lack of new product launches in the consumer electronics sector could account for any weakness in this usually strong sub-category.
In a second month of decline, total U.S. apparel decreased 3.7%, with declines in all sub-categories except children’s apparel, the report found. Steepest declines were in men’s apparel, down 10.4%, the usually strong footwear category, down 7.3%, and women’s apparel, down 6.1% . However, pricing continued to hold firm for the category as a whole, showing a healthy 5.4% increase in the overall apparel pricing index, on a year-over-year basis, SpendingPulse reported.