Latest Victim Of Economic Downturn: Upscale Hair Salons

The economic downturn is hurting hair salons as consumers are opting to dye and *shudder* even cut their hair at home. Fortunately, sales of the vacuum-powered hair-cutting machine Flowbee have not yet increased.

LA Times: Consumers are slashing their budgets by skipping visits to upscale hair salons and opting for inexpensive stylists. Some are getting haircuts less often or dyeing their own locks at home…

Beauty products behemoth Procter & Gamble Co. on Wednesday reported a 20% gain in sales of home hair colouring product Nice-n-Easy in its fiscal first quarter, and double-digit sales growth for its Head & Shoulders brand. Meanwhile, its Professional Hair Care line saw a small drop in sales.

Wait. Why Head & Shoulders? Is all the hair-tugging and head-scratching caused by the stock market exacerbating people’s dandruff?

Consumers’ move toward cheaper products is showing up in the bottom lines of companies that might be expected to benefit from a trend toward penny-pinching.

Regis Corp., which owns Cost Cutters, Supercuts and Sassoon Salon, last week posted a 30% drop in quarterly profit compared with a year ago.

Daniel Hofkin, an analyst at brokerage William Blair & Co. in Chicago, said companies such as Regis were hurting because customers weren’t buying expensive products at their salons.

“People are reducing the frequency of their visits, and some people are even cutting their hair at home,” Hofkin said…

For those worried that if the economy stays bad we’ll become a nation of bad haircuts and strangely coloured tresses, there is one note of hope. According to Flowbee International, sales of the Flowbee, a $69.95 vacuum-powered hair-cutting machine for do-it-yourselfers, haven’t picked up noticeably of late.

That’s right. People may be broke, but they’re not ready to vacuum their hair.

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