For the oft-studied, rarely understood teen demographic, cheap is the new black. Teen spending is off 14% this spring, the New York Times reports, reflecting the larger economic crisis. But the recession has also caused a realignment among the stores teens find hip, as discounters and heavy promoters become popular while upscale brands that refuse to cut prices are struggling.
For instance, staple Abercrombie & Fitch is being squeezed as fewer teens value $80 jeans and $30 T-shirts, flocking instead to cheaper brands like Aeropostale, American Eagle, and Abercrombie cousin Hollister. The shift is showing in bottom lines: Abercrombie sales dropped 34% in March while Aeropostale’s sales rose 3%, Hot Topic was up 7.1% and trendy Buckle posted a 14.7% gain. (Read more Abercrombie & Fitch stories.)