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Management And Training

Your toilet paper and the recovery

June 16, 2010
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WASHINGTON — Sales of consumer staples tell us a lot about consumers'' bottom lines. And these days, with Americans paying extra for quality tissue, a soft landing may be in sight, according to MSN Money.
Despite the government''s best efforts to rebalance the economy toward exports and capital investment, our prosperity still overwhelmingly relies on consumer spending, and there are a lot of ways to measure the strength of shoppers, the article stated.
But maybe the most intuitive indicators are the sales trends for simple, everyday products, the basic necessities of life like toilet paper, the article noted.
According to the article, it''s a surprisingly sensitive economic area but the success of new premium bath tissue, along with an increase in demand, suggests that people are feeling confident enough to open their wallets and upgrade their bathroom experiences.
A shift from one-ply to two-ply (and now three-ply) may not seem significant, but to ignore it is to miss an important point: Because people are literally flushing the money they spend on these products down the toilet, spending habits in this very personal area can reveal important clues about the financial health of shoppers, the article added.
According to RISI, an industry research provider, industry-wide tissue production is up 13 percent, thanks to improvements in demand, after plunging in late 2008 and early 2009.
Overall, bath tissue has been the fastest-growing paper sector in North America for the past 15 years, a distinction that looks set to continue, the article concluded.
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