L.E.K. Consulting's most recent survey of U.S. households indicates that consumer spending has ceased its plummet and has been relatively flat since April 2009. Consumers are indeed spending (albeit, still at reduced levels versus two years ago); however, they are proactively striving to realize the maximum value for each dollar. Discount retailer Wal-Mart, in particular, has benefitted from this increased search for value; the retail giant has gained a significant share of the average consumer's wallet during the recession.

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