6 Things to Buy Before the Economy Improves

Forbes

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1. Women's Clothing
According to the Consumer Price Index, women's outerwear, shoes and accessories have all seen lower prices in February compared with a year ago. Recently, women have begun flocking to "value" retailers, according to Piper Jaffray retail clothing analyst Jeffrey Klinefelter. That means less expensive clothing stores can lower their prices through lower production costs, and more expensive clothing stores will be forced to have more sales and clearance racks.

 

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2.  Laptops
Paul Ryder, vice president of consumer electronics for Amazon.com, says laptop prices have dropped thanks to the interest in netbooks. Although the Consumer Price Index does not break out laptop computers from others, it seems to broadly support this claim, with personal computer prices falling 13 percent in February from a year earlier.

 

 

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3. Toys
Parents can breathe a sigh of relief: More affordable toys are on their way for the holidays. According to the Toy Industry Association Inc., toy manufacturers are responding to the economic climate by developing low-cost toys. One toymaker, Wild Planet, has priced their entire 2009 line under $25. Look for lower-priced toys starting to hit stores this summer.

 

 

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4. Televisions
Each year it seems as though TVs get cheaper and cheaper, but this year those decreases are starting to make larger flat-panel TVs far more affordable. The radio/television category in February's Consumer Price Index was down 9 percent from a year ago as more manufacturers get into the flat-panel business, driving prices down.

 

 

 

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5. Furniture
With fewer people buying houses, fewer people are buying new furniture. Jim Sluzewski, a spokesman for Macy's, says furniture demand across the industry has noticeably decreased over the past year. That's driven many furniture retailers out of business, according to John Baugh, an analyst who covers the furniture industry at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. Inc. Retailers still in the market have to respond to those liquidation sales with price cuts and clearance items of their own. Baugh also noted that consumers with good credit can also often obtain very attractive financing.

 

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6. Diamonds
Don't wait for the economy to improve before popping the question. Diane Irvine, chief executive officer of leading online diamond retailer bluenile.com, says that the recession has quashed demand for diamonds, creating deals. According to Ken Gassman of the Jewelry Research Institute, prices for polished diamonds are down 14 percent, on average, from their highs last summer.

 

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