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New hope for retail as consumer spending rises


NEW YORK The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index rose in June, after falling four consecutive months, a sign that the consumer environment may be improving.

The Index, comprising four components -- tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices -- rose to 1.83%, from an upwardly revised gain of 1.4% a month ago. The strength in the number was driven by all of the index components with the exception of real home prices.

"There are signs that consumer spending may soon start to point upward again; however, retailers continue to grapple with economic uncertainty and the prospect of slow growth once a recovery does arrive," said Stacy Janiak, vice chairman and U.S. Retail leader, Deloitte LLP. "At the same time, retailers are heading into the largest selling events of the year, beginning with the back to school season this month. As retailers analyze back to school sales and plan their holiday inventory and assortment, their focus should include understanding what shoppers value, then localizing selections and customer loyalty strategies for individual retail locations."

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