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  • Gayle Strickland Jones shops Aug. 31, 2011, for back-to-school supplies for her two children at a Staples store in Brookside, Del. Consumers spent less on autos, clothing and furniture, leaving retail sales unchanged in August. (Associated Press)

    Listless consumers put the brakes on August spending

    The foundering economy has left Americans consumers listless and frustrated with many unwilling to splurge at the malls and unable to take advantage of the lowest mortgage rates on record to buy a house or improve their finances.

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