NEW YORK — Signs of deflation are everywhere, especially in the windows of stores advertising 25 or 30 percent off or more.

Apparel prices, already driven down by the rise of offshore manufacturing and the ascendancy of Wal-Mart Stores and other low-price operators, have been forced down even further by consumer indifference about apparel, lack of hot fashion items and the pressure on stores to make their budget targets. So, with prices lower, stores need to sell more units to wind up with the same dollar revenue, and that’s made retailers moreinclined to hit the promotional panic button.

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