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June 5th, 2008 (Modified on June 26th, 2008)

Stimulus Checks Making a Difference

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Shopping trips by consumers increased in May thanks in part to the economic stimulus checks now being sent out; 57% of retailers’ sales reports for May were higher than predicted. Manufacturing also unexpectedly rose in May to 49.6, up from 48.6 in April.

“Value retailers” Costco, BJ’s, and Wal-Mart have continued to be the exception to the retail industry, watching their stocks, sales, and memberships increase as consumers are buying in bulk to save money. Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, cashed in about $350 million in stimulus checks. While it is unknown how much of that money was spent in their stores, Wal-Mart saw same-store sales, excluding gasoline, increase 3.9%; including gas, sales rose to 4.4%.

Warehouse clubs Costco and BJ’s exceeded May estimates as well. BJ’s same-store sales increased 13.4% against predictions of 8.9%, and Costco’s sales increased 9%, besting expectations of 6.9%. Both retailers were helped by gas sales.

Cooler temperatures in May kept warm-weather clothing sales below expectations. Big-name clothing retailers Gap and Limited both posted losses for the month.

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HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

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Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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