(Editor's note: Updates to reflect today's earnings releases from Kohl's and Nordstrom.)BOSTON ( TheStreet Ratings) -- The term "trade down" became a familiar phrase in the investment lexicon after the credit crisis struck the U.S. in 2008. Trade down, in reference to the retail industry, refers to consumers choosing lower-priced, discounted goods, as compared with higher-end items. Americans, hobbled by surging unemployment, high gasoline prices, investment losses and depressed home prices, were forced to cut back. Teens who usually assembled a wardrobe at Abercrombie & Fitch ( ANF) were searching for back-to-school clothes at Aeropostale ( ARO). Their parents, who might have been used to dressing up at J.Crew ( JCG) and The Gap's ( GPS) Banana Republic were heading to TJMaxx ( TJX) or The Gap's Old Navy to save a few bucks. Starbucks ( SBUX) frappucinos and lattes weren't selling as well, as many stopped splurging, opting for the java jolt from their -- gasp -- household coffee maker.