Monday, August 31, 2009

Blue Chip, White Cotton: What Underwear Says About the Economy

For one answer to the nation's most pressing economic question -- when will the recession end? -- just take a peek inside the American man's underwear drawer.

There may be some new pairs there, judging by recent reports from retailers
and analysts, and that could mean better days ahead for everyone.

Here's the theory, briefly: Sales of men's underwear typically are
stable because they rank as a necessity. But during times of severe financial
strain, men will try to stretch the time between buying new pairs, causing
underwear sales to dip.

"It's a prolonged purchase," said Marshal Cohen, senior analyst with the
consumer research firm NPD Group. "It's like trying to drive your car an extra
10,000 miles."