Tuesday, May 17, 2011

High Gasoline Prices impacting consumers

by Bill McBride on 5/17/2011 07:37:00 PM

From Motoko Rich and Stephanie Clifford at the NY Times: In Consumer Behavior, Signs of Gas Price Pinch

“Our customers are consolidating trips due to higher gas prices,” said Bill Simon, who oversees the [WalMart] United States business.
...
“Rising gas and energy prices are cited by homeowners as the top factor affecting future spending plans, followed by the state of the overall economy and inflation in general,” said Lowe’s chief executive, Robert A. Niblock, explaining earnings that missed analyst expectations in a call with investors.

MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, which researches consumer spending, reported on Tuesday that the gallons of gas pumped nationwide in the last month fell by 1 percent from the same period a year ago.
And a similar article from Miguel Bustillo at the WSJ: Fewer Trips to Stores Hurt Wal-Mart, Lowe's
The price of gas has remained close to $4 a gallon in May. The national average was $3.94 Tuesday morning, according to the automotive group AAA, up substantially from $2.87 a year ago.
These reports from Home Depot, Lowe's and WalMart were all for Q1, and oil prices averaged close to $95 per barrel (WTI) in Q1, and even with the recent decline - that is below the current price of $98 per barrel. So April and May (so far) were probably worse for these retailers since gasoline prices were even higher than in Q1.

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