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Retail sales numbers from July indicate American consumers - hit by lower home values and high prices for food and fuel - are pulling back on spending. Consumers had been somewhat resilient in the first part of the year, despite the pressures of higher food and energy costs. But that may be over and any positive effect from stimulus checks is fading. Claes Fornell, Donald C. Cook Professor of Business Administration at Ross and director of the National Quality Research Center, lends some perspective to emerging trends in the following Q&A.
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