CONSUMER PACKAGE-GOODS SPENDING RETURNS TO NORMAL

IRI Study Says Most Shoppers Head to Wal-Mart, Eat at Home

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Spending on consumer package-goods products through the first half of 2002 largely returned to normal growth rates, with non-essential beauty and home-care products continuing to bounce back from post-Sept. 11 declines last year, according to a study by Information Resources Inc.

But more value-conscious consumers are eating at home and shopping at Wal-Mart stores more, according to IRI.

Economy, national security
The study, based on store

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and consumer panel data, said more than two-thirds of consumers are worried about the economy as well as national security. According to IRI, more than one-third of consumers said they're staying at home more, helping fuel 7.5% growth in sales of prepared dinner products.

More broadly, value-conscious consumers drove 13.6% increase in sales dollars for Wal-Mart, which accounted for half of total growth in package-goods sales in the first half of 2002, IRI said.

Non-food categories, hit the hardest following Sept. 11, largely have bounced back, with 4.7% growth in beauty and personal care products, 3.1% growth in home care and 5.4% growth in pet care products.

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