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Weak economy can’t pin consumers


A new data point out last week from an unlikely source shows that discretionary spending among consumers is alive and well, as long as they are presented with an opportunity they deem compelling. A case in point was the 25th anniversary of WrestleMania held April 5 in Houston, where 72,744 people attended the live event, which grossed $7.4 million, while millions more shelled out $54.95 for the pay-per-view event, which grossed $43 million. Professional wrestling has it share of critics, but that is a debate for another time. What’s noteworthy is that so many people were willing to spend so much money in a purely discretionary manner despite frequent reminders that the nation is in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Such anecdotal evidence won’t show up in the minutes from a Federal Reserve meeting, but of late a number of real world indicators have surfaced to contradict some of the gloomier headlines. For example, Target News Now reported last month that the behavior of consumers in Florida contradicted media reports about dire economic conditions in the Sunshine State. Among the evidence offered was near record attendance at the Florida State fair, record opening day sales at a new Sam’s Club and exceptionally strong traffic at the March 8 grand opening of SuperTarget near Orlando.


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