(Update includes additional stock prices.)
Those darn shoppers, after years of living beyond their means, finally discovering ... frugality?
And while we're all in favor of individual fiscal responsibility, there's no denying that more money in consumers' bank accounts means less money in retailers' cash registers.
New numbers released today showed that households grew their savings rate for the month of May to 6.9%, to the highest level in 15 years, while spending only rose a modest .3%. The savings rate was 5.6% in April, and nearly zero in early 2008.
Income jumped 1.4%, the biggest gain in a year, far surpassing the .3% increase expected by economists. But while an increase in savings rate is good for the long-term, it could drag out the recession even longer, if consumers' are not willing to stimulate the economy by shopping.
Consumer spending accounts for 70% of total economic activity.
Still, even that paltry .3% spending gain should help bolster the economy in the second quarter -- and translate into a smaller drop in gross domestic product of around 2%.
Retail shares were mixed in early trading, but discount giant
slipped 1.3% to $48.49. Rival
fell 1.5% to $39.72.
Other notable decliners include women's apparel retailer
, which plunged 12.5% to $9.23, and
, which lost 6% to hit $7.49 in morning trading.
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