Slightly Lower Gas Prices Do Not Spark Huge Increases in Consumer Spending

Oil is down a couple of bucks and retailers are on fire. Sears Holdings (SHLD) jumps $9 per share today? Remember everyone, rising gas prices did not result in plummeting retail sales and this subsequent drop does not mean Sears is all of the sudden going to see an influx of shoppers or its average ticket rise meaningfully.

These small incremental changes in the price per gallon does not materially change behavior. If national gas prices drop from the peak around $4.10 per gallon to, let’s say, $3.50, how much does the average consumer save? Well, let’s say you fill up once a week and have an 16 gallon tank. We are talking about less than $10 per week, or about $500 per year.

Now, I am not saying that extra $500 does not have an economic impact, because it definitely does. That said, it will not translate into incremental earnings at the retail level that would justify a 5%-10% jump in share prices of the nation’s leading retailers. As much as I would love to say otherwise, Sears should not be up $9 in today’s market.

Full Disclosure: Long shares of Sears at the time of writing