'Lipstick Index' Glosses Over Spotty Data

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One theory holds that sales of lipstick go up during a recession. After all, it's a relatively affordable luxury in times of low consumer confidence. But The Economist magazine takes a swipe at the notion, noting in a recent article that historical data are spotty. There's another reason why the "lipstick index" is suspect: The term was coined by an executive at the cosmetics firm Estee Lauder.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

The theory that lipstick sales go up in a recession does have its believers. But our last word in business today is gloss-over. There may be some evidence that low consumer confidence sparks a rise in sales of this relatively affordable luxury, but "The Economist" magazine takes a swipe at that notion. A recent article says historical data is spotty. The theory may also be wishful thinking. The term lipstick index was coined by an executive at the cosmetics company Estee Lauder. That's the business news on Morning Edition, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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