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New Nielsen Survey Details Consumer Sentiment on Economy

BY CSA STAFF

Schaumberg, Ill. The majority (86%) of U.S. consumers believe the country is currently in a recession and more than half (54% ) believe it will last longer than 12 months, according to a new online survey conducted by The Nielsen Co.

The survey found that the least amount of confidence as to when the recession would end was expressed by 25-to-29-year-olds.

“Younger consumers grew up in an age of prosperity and have never really known economic challenges to this extent,” said James Russo, VP, marketing, The Nielsen Co.

Younger consumers have more time to rebuild their finances and position themselves for growth, Russo said.

“It is worth noting, however, that older consumers, while understandably concerned, control nearly three-quarters of the net worth in the United States, and have done a better job of managing their finances with higher savings rates and lower debt rates,” he added.

Other survey findings include:

  • Only 18% of U.S. consumers believe the recession will be over within a year, with the least amount of confidence expressed by 25-to-29-year-olds.
  • More women (91%) than men (82%) feel the U.S. economy is in recession.
  • Thirty-eight percent of U.S. consumers surveyed consider the economy their biggest concern over the next six months, followed by increasing fuel prices, debt, increasing utility bills, increasing food prices and job security.
  • More than two-thirds (67%) of U.S. consumers are trying to save on gas and electricity, while more than half (56 %) say they are cutting back on out-of-home entertainment, spending less on new clothes (55%) and using their car less often (54%). Only 4% report taking no action at all to cope with economic woes.

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Study: Organic market not recession-proof

BY CSA STAFF

CHICAGO According to Mintel, the market for organic foods and beverages should reach $7.2 billion in 2008, an increase of over 140% from the $3.0 billion recorded during 2003. But year-over-year, Mintel has seen sales growth slowing. With many Americans now struggling financially, Mintel projects that sales of organic foods and beverages will not rally anytime soon.

Rising food and gas prices, the credit crunch and economic uncertainty have deeply affected peoples shopping habits, comments Marcia Mogelonsky, senior analyst at Mintel. Across the board, Americans are spending less and organic versus traditional is a decision many people are thinking about carefully.

People are also saving money by reaching for private label organics, which have exploded in recent years. Mintels Global New Product Database (GNPD) tracked over 540 new private label organic foods in 2007, a massive increase from the 35 new products seen in 2003. Furthermore, when Mintel asked survey respondents about the difference between name brand and private label organics, three in five (60%) said it didnt matter, that they reached for whatever is available when shopping. Private label posts an increasingly large threat to branded organic lines.

Economic struggles will undoubtedly change the way organic food and drink is sold. But we dont expect people to completely stop buying organics, states Mogelonsky. We anticipate more subtle changes, such as the formerly all-organic shopper who returns to traditional cookie brands while sticking with organic produce. These small changes will slow market growth.

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A&F names new cfo

BY CSA STAFF

NEW ALBANY, Ohio Abercrombie & Fitch Co. announced that Jonathan Ramsden has been named evp and cfo, effective upon his joining Abercrombie & Fitch in early to mid-December.

For the past 10 years, Ramsden has served as the cfo and a member of the executive team of TBWA Worldwide, a large advertising agency network with more than 11,000 employees worldwide and a division of Omnicom Group.

“Jonathan came to us by way of a nationwide executive search for a new cfo. We were extremely impressed by several of the candidates, but Jonathan clearly stood out above the rest,” said Mike Jeffries, ceo and chairman of the board of Abercrombie & Fitch.

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