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Saturday, October 22, 2011

"Trading down is the new trading up?"

Time magazine (Oct. 10 edition, p. 39)  reports on retailing. They say, "Trading down is the new trading up."  They call the new retail outlook the "Hourglass Economy."

They list Target as a middle classes retail outlet that is doing only marginally well. And Kohl's the same way. And Gap. OK. I get Gap but Target and Kohl's are middle class shopping havens?  Really?

OK. Maybe they didn't used to be.  But now they are because the middle class has dropped to the lower half of that hourglass and they're swelling the retail figures at Costco, Dollar Tree, Dollar General, the TJX companies, and Family Dollar.

Of course, the wealthy always have money. So you should see the top half of that hourglass!  Ralph Lauren, Tiffy & Co., Estee Lauder, Whole Foods, Coach. No surprises there!

So, what can the rest of the middle part of that hourglass do to survive other than tighten our belts and make matters worse by offering less than stellar service?  We can event like crazy. We can examine our in-store services like our rewards program. We can partner like crazy. Learn how to do this and dozens of other things frugally in A Retailer's Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotion (

And offer some bargains so that when those middle-of-the-roaders slide back into middle-class shoppers, you'll still be on their radar!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use this little green widget to let them know about it:

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