International News - US retailers positive on consumer outlook

US retail bosses are increasingly optimistic about the outlook for consumer spending.

In a survey by the National Retail Federation, executives in the sector reported solid monthly sales, consumer traffic, average transaction and six-month sales outlook.

The NRF-Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Retail Sales Performance Index for August reached 55.1 per cent, after hitting a low of 31.7 per cent in January.

'August marked the third consecutive monthly RSPI above 50 per cent, which suggests that the retail sector is on the mend,' said Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi senior retail analyst Michael Niemira.

The Retail Demand Outlook for August - the six-month outlook for sales - increased to 63.3 per cent, the highest level since the survey began in September 2002.

Almost three-quarters of executives said, in answer to a one-off question, that they believed this back-to-school season is better than last year.