There's an $80 billion elephant in the room that could be worse than a recession for Walmart, Home Depot, and Costco

America's largest retailers are facing a threat that is rarely discussed: student-loan debt.

Consumers make $80 billion in student loan interest payments a year, Moody's retail analyst Charlie O'Shea said on Bloomberg TV. This means that they have less money to spend at retailers like Walmart, Home Depot, and Costco.

Total loan payments add up to $160 billion annually. 

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