AMERICANS have been using their $1,200 stimulus checks to splurge on luxury items, according to claims from major retailers.
The US government handed out the cash in late April to help tens of millions of households cover essentials and cope with the financial distress brought on by the coronavirus pandemic as job losses reached 20million.
The cash is supposed to tide people over the coronavirus lockdown period to help pay the rent and groceries.
But major stores are finding people are also buying more “non-essentials” – including video games, electronics, sports clothes and toys – and believe it is because of the free money.
Walmart boss Doug McMillon told MarketWatch: “Call it relief spending, as it was heavily influenced by stimulus dollars, leading to sales increases in categories such as apparel, televisions, video games, sporting goods and toys.”
He added: “Adult bicycles started selling out, as parents started to join the kids.
“An overlapping trend then started emerging related to DIY and home-related activities.”
Customers undoubtedly chose to spend some of their government stimulus money on the products and services we provide.”
Corie Barry, Best Buy CEO
Target and Best Buy also saw increased consumer demand for non-essentials like TVs, electronics, and gaming equipment in mid-April as the stimulus payments flowed into Americans’ bank accounts.
Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said: “Like many other retailers, we saw sales benefit during the last three weeks of the quarter as customers undoubtedly chose to spend some of their government stimulus money on the products and services we provide.”
Meanwhile Apple boss Tim Cook said there had been an uptick in demand for its products “across the board”.
It comes as a poll found more than 80 per cent of Americans want a stimulus check every month until COVID-19 lockdowns end, a new poll has found.
The news came as the number of Americans that have filed for unemployment amid the coronavirus pandemic neared 40million on Thursday.
In total, 82 per cent of respondents said that a single $1,200 stimulus check is not enough.
Surveyees said rather than a single check, they think that the money should come each month until coronavirus lockdowns end.
Additionally, more than half of all Americans think that rent, mortgage, and student loan payments should be halted.
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