What's hot, what's not
- Fewer people are eating at restaurants, with that sector down 4% this year. Grocery stores, however, are doing well, with the shares of big food companies up about 17%.
- Holiday gift purchases are likely to be cut back; analysts are projecting the weakest buying since the recession of '91. People will be more likely to substitute "gifts of service" such as baby or dog sitting, car washing, etc.
- Shopping as a Sunday sport is taking a hit. That ritual is being replaced by time with family and friends.
- Impulse buying and conspicuous consumption are on hold. At least temporarily, consumers will rediscover thrift and savings.
- Even deep discounts by department stores aren't triggering consumer interest. On the other hand, Wal-Mart and the discount membership clubs are doing just fine, thank you.
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