It must be true that dog is man's best friend -- man continues to spend on his furry friends, at least when shopping at PetSmart ( PETM). PetSmart customer spending grew 6.51% from $50.67 in January 2008 to $53.97 in October of the same year. These data come courtesy of the new Main Street Spending Index (MSSI) compiled by Geezeo, a personal finance Web site that helps consumers track their spending. Contrary to popular belief, many people are still spending strong when it comes to pets.
PetSmart's biggest competitor, privately held Petco, is the big winner with a comparatively bigger consumer spending gain of 22.71% from January to October of this year. The average customer at Petco spent $44.61 in January 2008 to an increase of $54.74 in October 2008. These stats are also from Geezeo's MSSI. These positive growth and spending trends may not last, however. Wal-Mart ( WMT) is making a big push into pet food and pet supplies. Jim Cramer predicted earlier this week that Wal-Mart's focus on pets will hurt PetSmart. Some pet owners disagree. Pet owners who have special-needs pets tend to spend more on specialty food and other pet items. Wal-Mart will likely provide less-expensive pet food and a smaller range of specialty items. Small savings offered by Wal-Mart may not be a compelling enough reason for dedicated pet owners to switch retailers. Will PetSmart continue its growth once Wal-Mart invades the space? It's a dog-eat-dog world. Geezeo's Main Street Spending Index tracks more than 4 million consumer transactions from 800 companies doing business in the U.S. and Canada. Market segments include retail, dining out, entertainment, household and utilities. Data are anonymously collected weekly and based on up-to-date bank information. To view the full index and see how other stocks are performing, click Main Street Spending Index. For more information about Geezeo or to track your own expenses and find ways to save, visit www.geezeo.com. More than half of people using Geezeo's free budget tools are saving an estimated $1,200 annually.