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Retail Forward announced that its Index of Future Spending slipped a bit in August from July’s solid reading, indicating that retail sales should show some let up this month but remain elevated. The index declined to 103.7 in August from 105.8 in July.

“Helped by the job recovery and tax refunds, consumers so far this year have proved remarkably resilient in the face of heightened geopolitical uncertainty,” said Steve Spiwak, a Retail Forward economist.
“Though we expect sales at retail to moderate somewhat from the heady pace in the first half, rising incomes, robust home buying, proceeds from last month’s uptick in refinancings, and healthy back-to-school demand should keep the redoubtable consumer reaching for her wallet in the short term.”

The Retail Forward survey seems to show that most shoppers have remained relatively upbeat amid global worries such as the war in Iraq and the persisting threat of terrorism. “Middle Market” households (annual incomes between $22,500 and $75,000) reportedly have held steady during August; “Up Market” households (incomes higher than $75,000 a year) and “Down Market” households (making less than $22,5000 a year) showed a slight decline in the index.

Sixty-six percent of all respondents said that the war in Iraq is not causing them to cut back at all on their spending; 72 percent said uncertainty about the presidential race is not affecting their spending habits.
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