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by Pamela Hill

Fayetteville – As individuals and families adjust budgets to make ends meet in difficult economic times, a bubble bath sure feels nice. And that small piece of dark chocolate, delicious. That latte, refreshing.

“It really is true that when bad news surrounds people they enjoy treating themselves to something nice,” said Kathy Grannis, a spokesman for the National Retail Federation. “These days it really is about small luxuries. Women, for instance, may hold off on buying the cashmere sweater, but still treat themselves to a bottle of nail polish or a lipstick, a fragrance, body lotion.”

National retail trends show that consumers are slow to give up small splurges, a trend that seems to hold true in Northwest Arkansas.

“It’s interesting,” said Cindy Arsaga. “Our numbers are still good. Some of our particular stores have been showing some strain, but not a lot.”

Cindy and Cary Arsaga own Arsaga’s Espresso Cafe, a company of five stores, all located in Fayetteville.

Grannis said consumers typically first pull back on discretionary items during an economic downturn. Grocery stores usually continue to do well, she said, and consumers tend to head to discount stores for everyday items. The federation’s information is based on U.S. Commerce Department sales figures.

“They may not be essential but they’re still important to them,” Grannis said. “One interesting trend we’ve seen is pet stores and cosmetic stores are still doing well.”

Michael Moser, owner of Poopsy Daisy, can attest to that.

The business’ slogan – “We pick up where your dog left off!” – is as apt a business description as any for the dog-waste management company.

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