) -- Consumers freed up their debt by a record amount in July -- which, looking at it from a purely consumerist point of view, means they might have some extra wiggle room when it comes time for holiday shopping.
Consumer debt fell $21.55 billion, to $2.47 trillion, the Federal Reserve reported on Tuesday, the sixth straight month it saw a decline. Economists expected consumer debt to sink by $4.3 billion.
Non-revolving credit, such as auto loans, personal loans and student loans, fell by a record $15.44 billion to $1.57 trillion.
Credit-card debt dropped $6.11 billion, to $905.58 billion during the month -- which could free up card balances just in time for the holiday season.
While discounters like
have been picking up market share from consumers looking to save money, department stores and specialty retailers have been wrangled by the recession. Some freed-up credit card debt could help retailers like
-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York
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