Just as we're all taken over by growing concerns of a recession, the NPD Group, which tracks consumer spending (and is one of my most reliable fashion sources), has released its second "Fast Checks Study."
The bad news, according to NPD is: In just two months, consumers who said we're heading toward a recession or economic slowdown grew from 79 percent to 84 percent.
As a result, "they're beginning to throttle back (on spending)" Marshal Cohen, the chief industry analyst, says in an e-mail.
The industries most likely to feel the spending pinch? Dining out, home entertainment and - oh no! - apparel. (Does that mean those new Kenneth Cole shoes I just bought have to go back?)
However, I want my retail friends to take heart: Even though 42 percent of the survey folks say they'll use their government-rebate checks to pay down bills, Cohen has an afterthought.
"Again, this could be good news," he says. "If consumers pay off their debts right when they get their checks, the next month they will be out shopping again."
Meanwhile, what are consumers not putting the spending brakes on? Toys, video games and home improvement. (Can't let Johnny go without that latest version of "Guitar Hero"!)