A new division is emerging in America between those who have moved on from the recession and those still caught in its grip.
This holiday season, those two worlds have been thrown into stark relief: At Tiffany’s, executives report that sales of their most expensive merchandise have grown by double digits. At Wal-Mart, executives point to shoppers flooding the stores at midnight every two weeks to buy baby formula the minute their unemployment checks hit their accounts. Neiman Marcus brought back $1.5 million fantasy gifts in its annual Christmas Wish Book. Family Dollar is making more room on its shelves for staples like groceries, the one category its customers reliably shop.
“When you start to line up all the pieces, you see a story that starts to emerge,” said James Russo, vice president of global consumer insights for The Nielsen Co. “You kind of see this polarized Christmas.”
From an economist’s perspective the recession is over. For lots of folks it’s still a reality and there is little end in sight. Don’t forget your brothers and sisters if you are one of the lucky ones.