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By Jason Stipp | 07-08-2010 12:35 PM

Where the Consumer Is Spending

Although consumers are still putting off big purchases, small splurges are becoming more commonplace.

Securities mentioned in this video
JWN Nordstrom Inc

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar. We got a couple of pieces of consumer data this week, some preview data ahead of next week's government retail sales report.

Here with me to pick apart some of those reports and tell us what they mean for the economy is Morningstar's Bob Johnson. He is associate director of economic analysis. Thanks for joining me, Bob.

Bob Johnson: Great to be here.

Stipp: So first question for you. We've got a couple of smaller reports ahead of the government retail sales report, and you've dug into those this week. What were those reports and what did they tell you?

Johnson: Sure. A lot of the individual stores report their data for the previous month on this Thursday and it is a compilation of various stores. And there is two major reports that go through and do this. The International Council of Shopping Centers is one organization that does it, and there is another group called Retail Metrics goes through and analyzes a similar set of stores, but some are different.

Stipp: So these reports are looking at same-store sales. So these are stores that have been open for more than a year, so they are not adding in any new stores in there?

Johnson: Correct.

Stipp: Okay. Where did the numbers come in on those reports and how were they compared to what people were expecting?

Johnson: Sure. They were relatively consistent. The Retail Metrics number was about 3.2% same-store sales growth, and the Shopping Centers Council number was about 3%. And the Shopping Centers had said 3% to 4%, so it's at the low end of that range, and 3.5% was the expectation on the Retail Metrics number, and that came in at 3.2%.

Stipp: Okay. And you spent some time sort of digging in there and seeing where the consumer was actually spending in these reports. What did you find about where you were seeing some growth and what still was looking lackluster?

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