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Distressed Denim: Savior of a Distressed Economy? (Updated)

"Shoppers can find a way to wear a pair of jeans in almost every setting," Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at the NPD Group said at the Oppenheimer Consumer, Gaming, Lodging & Leisure Conference in Boston earlier in the month. "Since they are wearing jeans so many different occasions, shoppers are willing to invest in premium denim."

This also bodes well for companies like True Religion (TRLG), Joe's Jeans (JOEZ) and Guess (GES - Get Report).

Indeed, back-to-school denim now comprises 40% of Guess' product mix, up from 30%, with $128 premium denim its best selling price point.

And on Wednesday Jones Apparel Group (JNY) said during its second-quarter its wholesale jeanswear division jumped 28.5% even as revenue fell at its other segments.

So maybe not everything needs to be Wal-Mart prices to move. Maybe, in fact, all it takes to get shoppers to open their wallets is a comfy American tradition.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.
Copyright 2009 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.
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