For Teens Hip to the Recession, Cheap Is In

Abercrombie takes a back seat to discounts, value brands
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2009 9:37 AM CDT
Exterior of Abercrombie & Fitch store in Palo Alto, Calif.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – 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.)