By  on June 28, 2007

High gasoline and food prices and slow income growth are making consumers more cost-conscious, inclining them to shop more locally and in a growing number of places.

It's also widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots, portending a promising near-term future for stores aimed at upmarket customers, while dollar stores and discounters, with Target a notable exception, are likely to keep struggling, projected Mandy Putnam, a vice president specializing in shopper insights at consultant Retail Forward.

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