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    Consumers are short of spare money at the moment, making them cautious when it comes to considering unnecessary purchases, it has been claimed.

    Job concerns are fuelling this fear, meaning people are spending on essential items before they consider other expenditure, said Richard Dodd, spokesman for the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

    "Food retailers are proving more resilient than other sorts of retailers but across non-food retailing, generally retailers are having a tough time," he continued.

    People are cutting back on big-ticketed items such as furniture and carpets, revealed Mr Dodd, which is making things difficult for retailers in these sectors.

    A study from Datamonitor recently found that 36 per cent of respondents in the UK cited habit as being an important influence on where they shop for groceries.

    Furthermore, 71 per cent agreed that they now wonder more whether they are getting value for money from their grocery purchases and 43 per cent said they had recently given up some of their favourite grocery brands.

    Nearly half (43 per cent) of those questioned said they had started cooking from scratch rather than relying on convenience foods.

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