Shoppers in the U.S. sought deals and spent cautiously in September as same-store sales stayed essentially flat, according to the Thomson Reuters same-store sales index. Reports from apparel stores were particularity weak, while discount stores and warehouse chain Costco reported upticks in sales. "The consumer is still buying, but it's still the same story: The high end is holding up better than the lower end, where shoppers are more affected by different factors," said Michael Niemira of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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