By Shawn Ward, Geezeo Co-FounderSpending at home renovation stores is slowing considerably amid continued weakness in the overall housing market. Even though new homes sales had a surprising uptick in September, rising 2.7% to 464,0001, home sales for the quarter are still down close to 8% driven largely by August's double-digit drop. As a result, average sales per customer fell 23% since July at Home Depot, ( HD), according to the new Main Street Spending Index compiled by Geezeo, a personal finance Web site that helps consumers track their spending. Lowe's ( LOW) , is holding up better with only an 8% drop in average spending per customer in the past four months, Although Home Depot's sales have declined faster, its customers are still spending more, with average monthly purchases of $133.32 compared to $120.32 at Lowe's. The continued fallout from the housing market collapse coupled with the credit crunch does not bode well for home renovation firms. Spending in stores like Home Depot and Lowe's will likely turnaround only if the housing market stabilizes. Until then, expect lackluster retail sales.
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