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The recent strong pace of consumer spending at retail should ease in May but remain elevated, according to results from the latest Retail Forward ShopperScape Survey. The proportion of consumers who plan to spend more this month ticked slightly lower, while the proportion saying they will spend less held nearly steady.

“With the exception of the lowest-income households, rising optimism about jobs and incomes is keeping consumers in a spending mood,” said Steve Spiwak, an economist with Retail Forward. “The slight drop in momentum is likely the result of tax refunds that have largely been spent. As a result, consumers may take a breather this month in the wake of the robust surge in spending so far this year,” he added.

Spending on gifts for Mother’s Day (not including spending on services such as dining out, movies, etc) should also be buoyant. Greeting cards and flowers are by far the most popular Mother’s Day gifts, though clothing, candy, and jewelry are on many shopping lists this year, according to the survey.

As the impact of larger-than-usual tax refunds wanes, the outlook for consumer spending is gaining support as optimism about jobs and incomes spreads beyond upper income households. However, high gas prices are expected to have a dampening effect on consumer spending.
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