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Consumer brief (01/30/2008)

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* SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (1/31/08)--Record-breaking gasoline prices have resulted in substantial changes to our spending behavior, according to research from the Nielsen Company. Based on responses from nearly 26,000 U.S. consumers, the study revealed that shoppers are combining trips and errands (70% said they are doing so), eating out less (41%), and staying home more frequently (39%). These findings come on the heels of a lackluster holiday sales season, despite an increase in online shopping as a way to deal with high prices at the pump. More than one-quarter (27%) of respondents said they’re shopping more frequently at supercenters and big-box stores, and 25% are clipping more coupons. It’s expected that food shoppers also will make up for reduced spending power by buying less expensive grocery brands (Nielsen Jan. 14)…