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Downturning Economy Means Downsizing Summer Treats

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Economists say when people tighten their belts, they still usually find small ways to treat themselves. But in the recent economic downturn, even affordable luxuries are being passed up.

Chicagoan Mark Korschgen says he’s a Starbucks addict. But his habits are changing.

KORSCHGEN: Within the last 2 or 3 months, rather than the latte or cappuccino, I’m just having a regular cup of coffee.

He’s not alone. Economists say this year people aren’t enjoying as many treats like designer coffees and ice cream sundaes. Rick Mattoon is an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

MATTOON: Places like Starbucks and high-end ice cream shops and other sorts of major chains are seeing declines in volume and declines in sales. Mattoon says as energy prices rise, the hiatus on treats will likely continue.

A spokeswoman with Starbucks says the company recognizes the trend.

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