Chocolate is one of the 10 winners in the recession
10 winners in the recession(Part one)
6. Public Universities
The recession may be hurting public colleges' budgets, but it's boosting their appeal to students. The Connecticut State University System expects an 11 percent rise in applications this year, while Oregon State University's applications have grown by 12 percent. And in a record-breaking year at the University of Texas, numbers are up 6 percent.
Hershey's, the largest North American chocolate manufacturer, increased earnings by 51.4 percent in the fourth quarter.
That's partly because of cost cutting and ad campaigns, but it helped that sales rose 2.6 percent. Overall, sinful sweets seem to be faring well in the recession.
The British Cadbury company, which sells both chocolate and goodies like Trident gum, found its annual profits up 30 percent in 2008. And market research firm Mintel predicts that the chocolate market will keep growing throughout the recession.
Analysts say that, like the oft-quoted "lipstick index," rising chocolate sales show that when Americans are cutting their spending elsewhere, they feel more entitled to small indulgences.
Waistlines won't thin along with wallets if sales figures at the nation's biggest fast-food chain are any indication.
McDonald's same-store sales in the United States rose 6.8 percent in February 2009. But not all cheap eats have prospered. Sales at the pricier Arby's dropped by 8.5 percent in the fourth quarter, slamming the Wendy's/Arby's Group with a $393.2 million loss.
Pizza chains also have been hit, with same-store sales falling 3 percent in the fourth quarter at Domino's and 1 percent at Pizza Hut.
9. Career Development Websites
Traffic to job sites increased 20 percent in January 2009 from the year before, according to Nielsen Online. That was driven not only by the unemployed but by people who still had jobs.
People are seeking out information in more old-fashioned ways, too. Borders says its sales of career guides are up from last year.
10. At-Home Coffee Brews
The economy must be bad when even Starbucks, purveyor of $4 lattes, introduces its first value menu. But while the powerhouse's profits fell 69 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, revenue at Vermont's Green Mountain Coffee Roasters climbed 56 percent.
And retailers have been selling Mr. Coffee's coffee makers faster than the company can ship them, says Matt Ragland, vice president of marketing, with sales of coffee makers and accessories rising almost 5 percent from last year.