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A customer shops for back-to-school items at Walmart this month. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

America's spending habits — what and how we are buying — are reverting to pre-pandemic times.

Why it matters: What we're learning so far from a flood of retail earnings this week is companies may have rushed to adapt to changing consumer behaviors, but not all of those habits are sticking around.

What's happening: The number of transactions at Walmart jumped from this time last year as more people shopped in-store. But how much they are spending per transaction is falling — a change from the depths of the pandemic when people stocked up with online purchases and made fewer in-person trips.

  • Sales at restaurants and bars were the bright spot in the July retail sales report — the latest sign Americans continued to shift spending away from stuff to experiences (like dining out), even amid the spread of the Delta variant.
  • Pandemic-fueled, do-it-yourself projects are tapering off. Home Depot reported a sales slowdown in departments that were on fire this time last year: paint, gardening and hardware. DIY customer sales lagged those of professional customers for the second straight quarter.

Between the lines: Consumers are still doling out plenty of money at stores, even if how and what they buy shifts.

  • Home Depot reported record quarterly revenue. And Walmart upgraded how much it'll rake in this year on the back of strong shopping trends.

Go deeper

Austin home sales calm

A house for sale in South Austin. Photo: Asher Price/Axios

Some good news for prospective homebuyers: September home sales slid nearly 5% compared to the same month last year, per new data from the Austin Board of Realtors.

Why it matters: Have you tried buying a home lately? Bidding wars this past year have meant homes go for hundreds of thousands of dollars over listing prices as frenzied hopeful owners try to secure their piece of the American Dream.

  • Austin homebuying has reached grim comedy: To the ESPN prompt, "Name something that isn't an Olympic sport, but feels like an Olympic sport," the Austin Twitter account Evil MoPac answered: "Buying a house in Austin."
29 mins ago - World

"I assume full responsibility," Duterte says of drug war

Rodrigo Duterte in 2017. Photo: Linus Escandor II/AFP via Getty Images

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday that he assumes full responsibility for a violent war on drugs that has killed thousands of people, Reuters reported.

Why it matters: Last month the International Criminal Court (ICC) formally authorized an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity during Duterte's war on drugs.

CDC approves boosters for Moderna and J&J and mix-and-match

Boxes containing vials of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's independent advisory panel voted unanimously to recommend booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine and allow people to mix-and-match doses.

The big picture: The agency aligns with the Food and Drug Administration authorization Wednesday night which said people could switch to whichever vaccine they wanted for their booster shot.