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Economy will grow on needs, not wants

A Banana Republic customer looks at her receipt as she leaves a store in San Francisco

TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: Despite this kind of activity, a study out today by Discover Financial Services shows more people believe the economy's on the rebound. Still, a lot of people are saving every penny. Here's Caitlan Carroll.


Caitlan Carroll: Regina Whitehouse used to shop for clothes and go out to the movies with friends. Now the recently fired -- turned retired -- furniture saleswoman asks herself this question every time she opens her wallet:

Regina Whitehouse: Do I want this or do I need this?

More often, the answer is no. Whitehouse is cutting back on fun items so she can put more cash into savings and shrink her credit card debt.

Whitehouse: I have found out that things that I think that in the past I thought I needed I can get along very well without.

Like Whitehouse, about one-third of those in the Discover survey plan to reduce their debt. Another third say they already have.

Cary Leahey is a senior economist with Decision Economics. He says we're entering a decade where people will crave security. And that will change which industries thrive.

Cary Leahey: We, you know, have too many malls, we have too many stores, and we have too many resources allocated to retail.

He says the jobs and money will be in areas serving needs, not wants.

I'm Caitlan Carroll for Marketplace.

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