SpendingPulse: Apparel Spending Slides in May

Chicago Consumer spending on apparel and footwear slid during May as buyers scaled back on discretionary purchases amid a sluggish U.S. economic environment, according to a SpendingPulse report released on Wednesday.

May sales were down 1.1% vs. May 2007, with women's apparel declining 5.4% and footwear decreasing 1.0%. Men's apparel posted a gain of 4.8%.

Those declines could continue as consumers are hammered by higher gasoline and food prices, a falling housing market and the U.S. credit crisis.

SpendingPulse is the retail data service of MasterCard Advisors, an arm of MasterCard Worldwide.

Women's apparel sales have been weak for several months, hurt by a combination of the weak economy and a lack of fashions that have motivated purchases.

Apparel prices increased in May about 2% compared with last year, and transactions were down 3% for the period, according to SpendingPulse.

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