Consumers borrowed at highest level in four years in June

Consumer activity may be on the rise, despite the Commerce Department's relatively dour spending report for June.

Consumer activity may be on the rise, despite the Commerce Department's relatively dour spending report for June. The Federal Reserve reported Friday that consumer credit surged by as much as $15.5 billion during that month, marking a substantial increase from the $5.08 billion borrowed in May and triple that of economists' projections.

High food and energy prices may have encouraged Americans to put more charges on their loans and credit cards, contributing to the largest monthly consumer borrowing surge in four years.

While the uptick may be in response to high prices, analysts maintain it is good news, as credit levels usually reflect consumers' confidence in the economy.

"You're seeing an increase in consumer credit being available and you're seeing an increase in prices," James Rushing, vice president in the retail practice at consulting firm A.T. Kearney, told CreditCard.com. "Given more availability [of credit], people tend to spend more."

Small retailers, many of which have struggled to access a line of credit, should ramp up their customer service practices and strategies to take advantage of the apparent hike in consumer confidence.