Recessions don't have to be boring

What retail sales reveal about our changing habits

Judging by the daily barrage of gloomy headlines, it’s hard to believe the recession can mean good times. But retail sales tell a different story. What’s flying off store shelves these days? Booze and condoms are among the top sellers. Marketers say their surging popularity is simple to explain: people aren’t going out as much, but that doesn’t mean staying at home has to be boring. Other items that made it onto Nielsen Co.’s list of best-performing retail products include canning and freezing supplies, baking supplies, and fresh foods. Cookies, bottled water, and air fresheners, on the other hand, have seen sharp sales drops.


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