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Deloitte Consumer Spending Index dips in December

NEW YORK — The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index slightly dropped in December despite small improvements in 3-out-of-4 components.

The index — which is comprised of tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices — fell to 1.86 from a reading of 1.93 the previous month. Because of this drop, the ability for consumers to continue to spend at the rates seen in 2011 may be in question, Deloitte said.

“The new year brings new demands on retailers,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman and U.S. retail and distribution sector leader at Deloitte LLP. “In addition to a challenging economic climate, shifts in consumer behavior — from price consciousness to technology adoption — will force retailers to find new ways to remain relevant to their customers in 2012. Retailers should align talent, physical space, processes and technology in a way that moves the in-store environment from transactional to a complete and engaging brand experience.”

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