Americans are eating out and staying over more, but remain reluctant to buy clothes, and to spend the windfall from lower gas prices, according to a Visa Inc. survey of consumers. Restaurant spending in April rose 9.5% from a year ago, up from 7.6% growth in March, while hotel spending growth increased to 9.4% from 9.2%. Household good spending increased 5.1% in April, and home improvement spending grew 4.8%, while spending at clothing stores inched up just 0.1%. With oil prices falling 30% over the last year, Visa said the average household savings was between $50 to $75. Visa said 52% of those surveyed said they planned to save the unexpected savings on gas, while 24% said they planned to use the extra money to pay down debt. Only 30% said they planned to spend the savings on gas at other places, Visa said. "Across the country, we're seeing consumers continue to spend as their confidence in the economy grows," said Visa's Chief Economist Wayne Best. "With spending increases over the prior year from retailers and restaurants as well as a more robust travel sector, this broad-based growth is making an important contribution to the economic recovery."
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