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Times are better but US shoppers out for bargains

Retailers are expected to offer discounts and promotions, which can put a strain on their profit margins

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THE JOBLESS rate is at a six-year low, petrol prices have dipped below US$3 a gallon, and consumers are more upbeat about the economy. These are the kind of economic conditions that should encourage consumers to loosen their purse strings this holiday season, and indeed, surveys show that shoppers plan to spend more this year on gifts and decor.

Washington

THE JOBLESS rate is at a six-year low, petrol prices have dipped below US$3 a gallon, and consumers are more upbeat about the economy. These are the kind of economic conditions that should encourage consumers to loosen their purse strings this holiday season, and indeed,

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