Franklin, Tenn. It is no secret that many U.S. government stimulus checks were allocated toward daily expenses, including fuel and food, over discretionary spending. But the overall impact of the checks have been drastically offset by higher consumer prices, according to a study conducted by IHL Group.
To date, $92 billion in stimulus checks have been delivered to consumers’ mailboxes. However, a majority of that total was gobbled up by quickly increasing fuel and food prices, the study said.
For 12 months ending Aug. 1, consumer gas and food prices jumped $132.4 billion.
“Every sustained one-cent increase in fuel prices takes $1.7 billion a year out of U.S. consumers’ pockets for other spending,” said Greg Buzek, president of IHL Group, an analyst firm and consultancy that serves retailers and technology vendors.
“These are lost sales for non-fuel retailers, restaurants, auto dealers,” he said. “And sales lost to the retail economy in the past year due to a sustained rise in gas prices equates to the combined annual revenues for Kroger and Target.”
While retailers still have a hard road ahead of them, the recent drop in fuel prices could be a boost for chains during the back-to-school shopping crunch.
“The timing is actually very good for retailers and should help back-to-school sales by releasing over $3.4 billion for consumers for non-fuel activities,” said Buzek. “Those retailers that have adjusted their inventories and coordinated their marketing accordingly are best positioned to benefit.”
Costco offers promotions with LeverageCard.com
IRVINE, Calif. Costco has partnered with LeverageCard.com to allow consumers to buy Costco Membership Certificates online and then receive Costco promotions and coupon booklets.
Certificates purchased through LeverageCard.com can be used to renew, upgrade or register for a membership in any Costco store nationwide. The minimum purchase is $50 and for each certificate purchased, LeverageCard.com will send one complimentary coupon booklet, which includes coupons for free items and discounts on Costco staples, including fresh meat and bottled water, worth over $40.
“This relationship with Costco is a terrific step for us as we look to expand our gift card offerings and provide unique offers and savings to our users,” said Mark Edward Roberts, CEO and co-founder, Leverage. “We are proud to be working with Costco in a way that so dramatically enhances the customer experience for both Costco and Leverage shoppers.”
Consumers will also be able to exchange their purchased Costco Membership Certificates for other gift cards available on LeverageCard.com using the site’s signature swapping system.
Springs names senior account manager
ROCK HILL, S.C. Springs Creative Products Group has named Teri Thom as senior account manager. In this capacity, Thom’s responsibilities include sales and product development for Jo-Ann Stores, Target, Tractor Supply Company, Cracker Barrel, Scholastic, A.C. Moore and Books are Fun.
Before joining Springs Creative Products Group, Thom worked in merchandising and product development for Jo-Ann Stores in Hudson, Ohio. Prior to that, she served as a buyer for Dillard’s Department Stores and a store manager for The Gap.