Clues about the economy, by way of the shopping mall
NEW YORK Ã¢â¬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 Ã¢â¬ÅMiraculousÃ¢â¬Â 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 Ã¢â¬ÅHello, Bombshell,Ã¢â¬Â cost between $49.50 and $250.
Ã¢â¬ÅThe Bombshell bra has been selling out, and that's not because husbands are buying them for their wives,Ã¢â¬Â says Morris, who works at of BMO Capital Markets. Ã¢â¬ÅIt's the wives buying for themselves.Ã¢â¬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.
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