Since the recession, overall spending has been down as people try to pay down their credit card balances, mortgages, and other loans. But now, despite the fact that the economy hasn’t recovered as much as expected, people seem ready to start spending again, and that spending might just be what we need to give the economy the boost it really needs. In the week ending July 9, chain-store sales were up 5.5% over the same period last year, the biggest percentage increase since April 2010. Furthermore, sales were up 0.4% from the previous week, making last week the third straight week of gains.
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The International Council of Shopping Centers expects that summer clearance sales and back-to-school spending will increase sales between 4.5% and 5.5% in July, and that’s following better-than-expected June sales.
Stocks to Watch: Despite positive retail news, the S&P Retail ETF (NYSE:XRT) started the day down 0.38% within the first few minutes of trading. Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) shares were down 0.54% in the first few minutes of trading but have already recovered, now up 0.21%. Macy’s (NYSE:M) shares are up 0.17%, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) shares are up 0.11%, Target (NYSE:TGT) shares are up 0.73%, Jones Apparel Group (NYSE:JNY) shares are up 4.34%, Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS) shares are up 0.24%, and J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) shares are down 0.79%.