"The old stigmas are the new realities," says Emanuel Weintraub, a New York-based retail consultant. "Now, people don't have a problem saying, 'I can't afford it.' It's a sign of strength."
Here is some evidence:
"Store-branded groceries now make up 22 percent of total sales, up from 20 percent before the recession, according to The Nielsen Co. The private-label business is worth $500 billion a year, so even a 2 percentage point change means $10 billion."
"At an Aldi location in Chicago on a recent evening, shoppers didn't care that the only recognizable brands were the Splenda sweetener, a Butterball turkey and a few kinds of candy.
Six no-name grocery items - macaroni and cheese, potato chips, cream cheese, sour cream, olive oil and guacamole - cost about $10. The same six brand-name items cost $22 at the nearby Dominick's."
"New research from American Express found that the super-affluent, which it defines as those who put at least $7,000 a month on their credit cards, spent 24 percent more on fast-food last spring than the year before. They spent 12 percent more on fine dining."
See an earlier post, Frugal Is The New Sexy.