Put Down the Wallet

Teens vs. the Recession

Teens have been among the most reliable cash cows for retail chains around the country for decades, but the deep recession is rapidly changing that equation. Spending at stores that specialize in selling clothing to teens is down 7.8 percent versus the previous year, and is now the worst performing sector in all of retailing. Teen mainstays like Abercrombie & Fitch and Hot Topic have seen double-digit declines from the same month last year. Some analysts see more than just a decreased amount of free cash, but a broader cultural shift toward financial responsibility. “As me and my brothers get older and we realize the implications of the recession,” Sarah Berger, 16, told The New York Times, “we just kind of value presents and gifts less.”