Deloitte Consumer Spending Index plunges

NEW YORK — Deloitte on Monday released some disappointing news for retailers who were hoping that consumer spending might get a boost in the months leading up to the holiday season.

The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index plunged in September to its lowest level since May 2009, primarily due to a significant fall in home prices and deterioration in real wages.

The index, which comprises four components — tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices — fell to 2.39 from 2.51 the previous month.

“Consumers may start to re-evaluate what’s in their shopping baskets and put non-essentials back on the shelf until they feel more confident about the economy’s prospects,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman and U.S. retail and distribution sector leader for Deloitte LLP. “It’s critical retailers understand consumers’ purchasing behaviors and attitudes and are prepared to make quick decisions about which items to mark down and where to hold the line this holiday season. Also, by capturing non-transactional data such as interactions with customers, call center logs, click streams and social media connections, retailers can better understand what drives customer engagement and buying decisions.”