For a fifth straight month, Utahns used the money they saved on lower gasoline prices and spent it on everything from cars to food to utility bills. The Zions Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index decreased 0.1 of a percent from October to November on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, driven by lower gas prices. Randy Shumway of the Cicero Group conducts the survey for Zions Bank. He says that drop further boosted the positive attitudes about the state’s economy.
“So right as we go into the November and December season, we’re seeing gas prices drop precipitously," says Shumway. "And the result is that people are transferring what they would typically spend on gasoline, to increased retail spending,” he says.
Bill and Diane Sartan’s family has owned Tutoring Toys in Foothill Village for 25 years. They specialize in child development toys. He says the retail industry has had a rough four or five years but things are definitely turning around.
“In the fourth quarter of the year, we had a large surge; a double digit increase, in both the number of transactions as well as the gross dollar passing through the business,” says Sartan.
He says, as a local family business, they can tell their customers are still a little cautious but he is very optimistic about 2014. The Zions Bank Consumer Attitude Index rose a modest 2.3 points in December following a record November jump of 15.7 points.