Retailers had been telling us for months that high fuel prices were keeping consumers at home. This was even more clear in the reports for May, when $4-per-gallon gasoline prices seemed to take about 1 percent away from retail revenue. Consumers are shopping less, to save fuel, and buying less, especially for discretionary items like clothing.
I have been seeing some of this effect in the weekend traffic around my area. Lots of people are out, it seems, on Friday night and Saturday, but fewer than usual on Saturday night and Sunday. Perhaps by the end of Saturday afternoon, the weekend’s fuel budget has already been burned away.