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News Link • Economy - Economics USA

Wal-Mart CEO: Consumers feeling greater pressure

The world’s largest retailer, which gets 140 million customers in its U.S. Walmart stores alone every week, has seen more shoppers spending more on the first day of the month when they receive their paychecks, Duke said at The Wall Street Journal Viewpoints executive breakfast presentation in New York. “Our customers are running out of money, buying smaller pack sizes and less discretionary items near the end of the month,” Duke said. “It shows greater pressure on consumers. Rising fuel price has been one of the factors that affect consumer spending. The end of paycheck cycle is pronounced among our core customers.” Consumers, still facing a near 9% unemployment rate, also is bracing for other inflationary cost pressures in areas such as fresh foods even as categories such as consumer electronics continue to see price declines, Duke said. “Inflation and fuel price have come into place” along with other economic pressures to hurt consumer spending, he said. With the rising fuel pressures, Duke said one-stop shopping has “become even more important.” Consumers also have become more focused on “value and price” and use technology such as smart phones to compare prices while in stores, he said.

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