To begin 2013, consumers saw a significant drop in personal income growth, which could have a major impact on the retail industry.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, personal income growth declined 3.6 percent in January, which was the largest one-month drop in nearly two decades.
"Households absorbed the large drop in income in January by reducing their saving rather than their spending," a research note from Toronto-based Capital Economics research firm said, according to USA Today. "But the effects of the payroll tax hike and the latest surge in gasoline prices will continue to constrain consumption in the first quarter."
With the decline in income growth, consumer spending increased just 0.2 percent. However, the majority of this spending didn't go toward retail purchases, as many Americans saw higher heating bills and gas prices instead.
Tom di Galoma, managing director at financial services firm Navigate Advisors, told ABC News, the decline in income growth is likely related to stock dividends, as these are now taxed at 20 percent as opposed to 15 percent last year.
As Americans begin to see slower income growth, they could be less likely to spend money at retail stores. These businesses could begin to see cash flow fall as a result.
Small retail businesses that don't have strong cash flow could struggle to obtain a loan from a bank. Those who are told "No" by one of these institutions might be able to qualify for inventory financing.
This form of asset-based lending allows small retailers to use their current inventory as collateral to obtain a revolving line of credit, which can be used to help them restock their shelves and take advantage of opportunities to grow and develop as a business.