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Will High Gas Prices Affect Travel, Retail Spending?

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DETROIT (WWJ) – With the statewide average near $4 a gallon for gasoline, concern is rising in tourism and retail on how the higher costs will affect their industries this summer.

Jim Hallan of the Michigan Retailers Association said a recent survey found we are tolerating the higher prices.

“We have to look where we are today compared to where we were two years ago and we’ve come a long way. Obviously, we’ve got a long way yet to go, but these are monthly surveys that are pretty good baseline numbers of the retail community. They reflect consumer confidence and the numbers are ticking up,” Hallan said.

The Association reports consumer spending is so far, so good. Hallan said he’s encourage by what he calls a “slow-steady growth” in the retail sector.

“So far, what our numbers are showing, are that the consumers are pretty resilient to the gasoline fluctuations,” Hallan explained. “Gasoline and unemployment continue to be black clouds in Michigan’s environment, not knowing what impact that would have on consumer confidence.”

Hallan said if unemployment and gasoline prices don’t fall soon, the positive growth trend he’s seeing could be blunted.

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