NACS survey: Overall consumer optimism about the U.S. economy increased three points to 47% in July

ALEXANDRIA, Va., 2016-Jul-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Consumer optimism increased to its highest level since March as gas prices reversed a four-month climb and dropped 12 cents per gallon last month, according to the latest national consumer survey released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

Overall consumer optimism about the U.S. economy increased three points to 47% in July, but there were significant demographic variations. Six in 10 younger consumers (60%) ages 18–34 say that they are optimistic, compared to only 37% of those ages 50 or older.

Gas prices remain much lower than they have been in recent summers. This month’s reported price of $2.26 per gallon is 53 cents lower than the reported price of $2.79 in July 2015. As gas prices have declined, U.S. fuel consumers are less likely to say that gas prices significantly affect their feelings about the economy. Just one in five (22%) of fuel consumers say gas prices have a “great impact” on their feelings about the economy, the lowest number since NACS began surveying in January 2013.

Not only are consumer less concerned about current prices, they also feel good about future price changes. Only four in 10 (41%) consumers expect gas prices to increase over the next 30 days, the lowest percentage since February. And they say that prices would have to reach an average of $4.71—more than double today’s prices—before they would consider alternatives to driving or significantly reduce the amount that they drive.

The boost in consumer optimism regarding the economy may not immediately translate into a boost for the economy. Only one in five consumers (20%) say they will drive more over the coming month and only one in six consumers (16%) say they will spend more money shopping at all retail locations this month. However, both percentages are in line with historical averages for the month.

Fuel efficiency may also play a role in optimism. Consumers say their vehicle’s average fuel efficiency increased to 25.2 miles per gallon, the highest level since NACS began conducting monthly consumer surveys in 2013. As a result, average miles per dollar—a calculation that examines gas prices related to vehicle fuel efficiency—increased to 11.2 miles per dollar.

“Monthly changes in gas prices clearly affect consumer sentiment. The question is how much any future price drops can push optimism higher at a time when consumers still have broader political concerns, especially as the national conventions loom,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives.

NACS, which represents the convenience store industry that sells 80% of the gas in the United States, conducts monthly consumer surveys to gauge how gas prices affect broader economic trends. The survey was conducted online by Penn Schoen Berland; 1,101 U.S. adults who purchase fuel for a vehicle such as a car, truck or van at least once per month were surveyed July 5–8, 2016. Summary results are available at nacsonline.com/fuelssurvey.

Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 154,000 stores across the country, conducts 160 million transactions a day, sells 80% of the fuel purchased in the country and had total sales of $575 billion in 2015. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,700 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

Contact:

For media interviews/comments contact Jeff Lenard.

Source: NACS

IKEA U.S. #TogetherWeEat Food Truck to visit Chicago and New York City in July

Limited Time Food Truck to Visit Chicago and New York Offering Free IKEA Meatballs and Communal “Pop Up” Seating

CONSHOHOCKEN, PA, 2016-Jun-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — IKEA U.S. announced today that the #TogetherWeEat Food Truck, a limited-time mobile food truck celebrating how food connects people, will hit the road this summer to encourage consumers to take a moment from their busy day, relax with a friend, and enjoy an IKEA snack together. The truck will visit two cities in July – Chicago and New York City – to surprise and delight the public with free IKEA meatballs and other treats, as well as communal “pop-up” seating areas furnished by IKEA.

The food truck will visit Wicker Park Fest in Chicago (July 23 & July 24) and BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in Brooklyn, NY (July 30), as well as make “surprise” stops at various locations in these two cities. Visitors to the truck will get a free sample of three IKEA meatball creations made from IKEA chicken, veggie and Swedish meatballs: the Buffalo Chicken Bite, the Veggie California Stack and the KÖTTBULLAR with Lingonberry

“We wanted to allow consumers to taste a variety of delicious and healthy food options found at IKEA Restaurants and IKEA Swedish Food Markets,” said Peter Ho, head of food-product development at IKEA U.S. “But even more than that, we wanted to create an environment that encourages people to gather and enjoy these treats together.”

Communal pop-up seating areas stationed near the food truck at select stops will be outfitted with IKEA furniture and home furnishings. IKEA LATTJO table games, trivia cards and other conversation games will also be available to encourage great conversation with friends, family and other fellow eaters.

“At IKEA, we understand the great power of food in bringing loved ones together, whether that’s over morning pancakes in the kitchen or an afternoon snack at the park,” said Lisa Hajra #TogetherWeEat project leader at IKEA. “Simply being together to talk, share, discuss and laugh over a delicious meal is just as important as the food itself, which is why this year, we’re celebrating all the ways in which food connects people.”

The IKEA #TogetherWeEat Food Truck follows the recent IKEA “Together, We Eat” contest launched last fall, which celebrated how food brings people together through a search for the best stories behind cherished family recipes and food traditions.

To find out more about the IKEA #TogetherWeEat Food Truck, including menu offerings and time/location details for Wicker Park Fest in Chicago and BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in Brooklyn, NY, please visit www.TogetherWeEat.com/FoodTruck.

To follow the IKEA #TogetherWeEat Food Truck as it makes its way through Chicago and New York City in a series of “surprise” stops this July, follow IKEA on Twitter @IKEABolingbrook, @IKEA_Schaumburg and @IKEA_Brooklyn.

To download images from the IKEA #TogetherWeEat Food Truck and additional assets, including recipe and event images (available post-events), please visit:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B44PLg4_2UEdaUY0Y09ud0UyVg or contact Kathy Boerner (Kathy.Boerner@Ketchum.com).

ABOUT IKEA
Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA has offered home furnishings of good design and function at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. here are currently more than 385 IKEA stores in 48 countries, including 42 in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information see IKEA-USA.com, @IKEAUSANews, @IKEAUSA or IKEAUSA on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

Media Contact:

Kathy Boerner
646-935-3914
Kathy.Boerner@Ketchum.com

Source: IKEA