NEW YORK â€” Attention armchair economists: You don't need spreadsheets to get a handle on how this year's holiday shopping season is going. Just keep an eye on sales of push-up bras.
You read that right. Retail analyst John Morris says that if we see brisk sales of the â€œMiraculousâ€ bras at Victoria's Secret it could be a good indicator of two important economic trends.
If women buy these high-priced bras, they're probably willing to buy other things for themselves, too. That would be a shift from the last two holiday seasons when shoppers mostly bought for others.
Strong sales of lingerie would also suggest that shoppers are willing to indulge. That would be a change from last year when they stuck to basics. The bras, launched a year ago and sold with the tag line â€œHello, Bombshell,â€ cost between $49.50 and $250.
â€œThe Bombshell bra has been selling out, and that's not because husbands are buying them for their wives,â€ says Morris, who works at of BMO Capital Markets. â€œIt's the wives buying for themselves.â€
What's on sale?
Everybody loves discounts, and retailers offer plenty of them. The key difference to watch for is this: when discounts shift from planned promotions into desperate acts by retailers trying to move merchandise out the door.