Return of big-ticket purchases?

As long as consumers are still working their way through piles of personal debt, the free-spending ways that put them in a bind in the first place will probably not return anytime soon. (The upward spiral of commodity prices isn’t helping.) At the same time, there is clear evidence that shoppers are spending more on discretionary items like apparel, at least feeling that they have “permission” to do some updating of their wardrobes. But is the consumer prepared to live a little longer with the furniture, appliances or carpeting that they already own? Absolutely, especially if they still owe money on those big-ticket items.

At the same time, retailers ought to be opportunistic about encouraging spending where there is a “reason to buy” based on new technology…the mobile phone market continues to expand and there is a big opportunity to explode the tablet and e-reader business in the next couple of years. Innovation will always be a driver of consumer spending.

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