However, a read from corporate America paints a very different picture of consumer spending in the second quarter. Comments from executives this earnings season from companies spanning the retail, food, beverage, restaurant and staples industries portray a "challenged" state of the U.S. consumer.
"In North America, the overall retail environment in our category remained challenging, with soft traffic and permanent promotion in a retail environment throughout most of the second quarter," said Paul Marciano, vice chairman and CEO of Guess?.
"The challenging macroeconomic environment," said Mark Buthman, chief financial officer of Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Kleenex tissue and Huggies diapers.
"Low- and middle-end consumers are continuing to struggle. They have changed their buying habits. Data now suggest that out of necessity, many folks have reduced their overall consumption, and absolute unit growth across Nielsen-measured channel data supports this. While our customer always finds a way to work through difficult times, she is struggling to overcome the sustained nature of the headwinds she is facing," said Richard Dreiling, chairman and CEO of retailer Dollar General.
"A challenging retail environment," said Kurt L. Darrow, CEO of La-Z-Boy.
"I think it's pretty apparent that the low- to moderate-income customer is struggling. ... So I don't think we have anything to add to that other than I think that that customer is challenged economically and finding this environment difficult," said Michael B. O'Sullivan, president and chief operating officer of Ross Stores.
"In a continuing challenging environment," said Mike Jeffries, Abercrombie & Fitch's CEO.
"Our outlook for the fall season reflects our confident optimism tempered with the reality that many customers still are feeling the impact of an economic environment that at best is improving very gradually," said Karen Hoguet, chief financial officer of Macy's.
"The North American consumer picture continues to be weak, with retail sales among the top 30 food and beverage manufacturers roughly flat in the quarter," said PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi.
"It looks like low-income consumers are purchasing less. They are going less in the store and to fight this, the environment is very promotional. This is something that we see clearly in the U.S. but not only, we have seen this phenomenon also in Europe," said Michele Scannavini, CEO of cosmetics and fragrance company Coty.