Consumers remain cautious with spending habits

Although consumers have been spending more, Americans are still remaining cautious when it comes to their money, which could delay sales growth for retailers. 

If consumers do hold back their spending, small- to medium-sized retailers could enter a period of lagging cash flows. During such a time, obtaining a loan from a bank can be difficult, but inventory financing is still an option. 

According to Deloitte's 2013 American Pantry Study, 94 percent of Americans said they would remain cautious about spending for food, beverage and household goods. 

About nine in 10 Americans said they have become more resourceful and 86 percent indicated that they are getting more precise when it comes to what they buy. 

"One of the most notable year-over-year trends in the study is how embedded frugality has become due to the recession," said Pat Conroy, vice chairman at Deloitte LLP and consumer products sector leader.

One of the factors that has led consumers to be cautious about their money has been increasing student debt. According to a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, college debt totals are currently at $900 billion and nearly half of all 25-year-olds are repaying student loans, compared to just 25 percent 10 years ago. 

If the cautiousness about spending leads to poor retail sales continuing, small- to medium-sized retailers could enter a period where cash flows fall below normal levels. Should this occur, operating normally could be difficult. 

These businesses might want to turn to inventory financing to help out, as this form of asset-based lending allows them to use current inventory as collateral to obtain a revolving line of credit. This can be used to get through periods where sales might be sub par.