Americans were reaching for their wallets slightly less frequently in March 2013, according to the Deloitte Consumer Spending Index, which read 4.12 for the month, down from a reading of 4.37 in February 2013. The Index follows four areas, initial unemployment claims, real wages, real home prices and tax burden to determine consumer cash flow as a predictor for future spending.
Though March's numbers saw a slight decline, they were consistent with reading indicating growth over the last four months.
"Consumers have maintained their level of spending in recent months and retailers should be encouraged by the economic signals," said Deloitte's Alison Paul. "However, retailers do not have the wind entirely at their backs this month …"
Paul went on to note that though some consumers will have tax refund checks to spend in 2013 – Easter was early this year, so the holiday will not be generating its normal sales bump.
Though Deloitte forecasts consumer spending to remain stable, consumer confidence was low in April 2013. The University of Michigan/Reuters index fell to 72.3 in the preliminary reading for April, down from 78.6 the previous month. Retail sales were also down in March 2013, declining 0.4 percent, reports the LA Times.