The ShopLocal Retail Index, which is designed to predict in-store traffic by measuring visits to in-store promotions on the Web, was up 28 percent for the month of May compared with the same period last year. The Index registered 177 for the month, compared to its January 2006 benchmark of 100.

The index reading was based on 251 million page views from 21 million consumer visits to retailers' Web sites. Updated monthly, the Index is based on the online activity of an average of 20 million monthly consumer visits to in-store local promotions that are presented on the sites of 50 major U.S. retailers, including such notable retailers as JCPenney, Best Buy, Walgreens and Home Depot.


ShopLocal said the reading indicates that consumers appear to be continuing to increase their use of online circulars to do some comparison shopping and to find ways of spending less before heading out to the store.

“Consumers have clearly decided to spend some of the $120 billion in tax rebate checks mailed by the government in April and May,” said Vikram Sharma, CEO of ShopLocal. “The ShopLocal Index supports the Commerce Department report that while the stimulus package had a positive impact across retail categories, the home and garden category saw the largest year-over-year sales growth. In this time of rising food and gas prices, the resilient consumer used the Web to get the most out of these checks for some seasonal shopping.”