retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Pew Research Center is out with a new report saying that the American middle class experienced its worst decade since World War II in terms of income decline, and that the past 10 years has seen a growing disparity between the income levels of the rich and the middle class, the old and the young, and the married vs. the unmarried.

Indeed, the study confirms a trend perviously reported upon - that the upper class and lower class populations in the US are growing, and that the middle class is shrinking.

In addition, the report says, it could take another 10 years for the middle class - which controls 45 percent of the nation's income in 2010, down from 62 percent in 1970 - the reverse the losses suffered during the past decade.

Which means, of course, that retailers that have made a living by catering to the vast middle class have to rethink that approach, simply because the number of fish in the pond is shrinking.

This is not a short-term phenomenon. It is a long-term problem, with political, cultural, societal and commercial implications.
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