Wal-Mart Stores Inc is expecting a “late Christmas” as consumers continue to carefully manage spending, CEO Mike Duke said at an investor conference.

Duke said shoppers are keeping a watchful eye on prices and are less likely than before to stock up on items or to purchase lower-quality “throw-away” items.

Consumer spending, an important driver of the U.S. economy, has fallen off sharply during what has become the longest and deepest recession since the Great Depression.

Duke said the world’s largest retailer is prepared for the upcoming winter holidays, but that he expects “it will be a late Christmas.”

Photo by svilen001.

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