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Spending Trends Make Some Retail Sectors Skittish

August 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Retail sales in the U.S. were sluggish in July, especially among clothing and electronic goods vendors, where shopping is shifting from brick-and-mortar stores to the Internet. It’s not because American consumers aren’t spending. After all, unemployment is down, income is up, and energy prices remain low. U.S. households have increased spending every quarter since the end of 2009. But there has been a shift in where Americans spend, toward entertainment, travel and healthcare -- and online. The experts don’t seem alarmed. One economist said the news signals “a pause in a good pace of spending”, while a global forecaster expects a 2.6 percent gain in gross domestic product this quarter over a year earlier. Still some sectors have reason to be nervous: consumer spending is falling at sporting goods stores, food and beverage stores, restaurants and bars.
Suzanne Kapner et al., "Where We Spend Is Upending Traditional Retail", The Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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