NEW YORK, Dec. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers continue to replace old worn vehicles, pushing total retail sales up to 0.7 percent in November, following an upwardly revised 0.6 percent rise in October. Nonauto-related sales rose but at a slower pace of 0.4. Consumers are winding down deleveraging (paying off old debt) but remain somewhat cautious about buying big ticket items (other than necessity-driven vehicle purchasing). In other words, having worked so hard to restore household balance sheets, the reluctance is about once more running up debt levels in a still slow overall economy. Retailers, saddled with overstocked inventory, are likely to resort once more to discounting in order to overcome this consumer caution. Stock market gains favor the affluent and the upscale market. At the other extreme, little was expected anyway this holiday season. So it is the consumer in the middle, caught between financed purchasing and potential bargains, this holiday season. The post-holiday period may not look much different.
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