July 24, 2008

Does Credit Crunch Lead to a Romantic Squeeze?

While new national figures show that those feeling the credit crunch pinch are turning to romance, Lincolnshire folk seem to be finding other ways to pass the time.

According to sales figures at Superdrug stores, people are buying up condoms faster than you can say, 'Let's make hay.'

Sales are up by 15 per cent on this time last year and lubricants are selling faster than ever at 5,000 per week.

Superdrug thinks it is thanks to the economic downturn, with rises in fuel, food and mortgage bills resulting in a distinct lack of disposable income.

The company's director of health Simon Comins said it had created a condom sales chart.

Superdrug expects it to rise while the going is bad and droop when the economy is on the mend.

But as the credit crunch bites, people in Lincolnshire do not seem to be turning to 'afternoon delight'.

Angela Firmstone, of FP Watson Ltd, a pharmacists in Lincoln's Bailgate, said: "I don't recall our sales being up with those products but I think people may go to the bigger stores for things like that.

"I can understand it, though, and I'll be looking out for if there is an increase now."

Elizabeth Pinnion, pharmacist at Bardney Pharmacy, near Lincoln, said: "I have not seen that happening here. There are a lot of young couples and older people here and it's very family-orientated.

"I have noticed other things such as people spending less in town and older people using their bus passes more because of the increase in fuel prices."

And Lincolnshire Co-op's head of pharmacy Alastair Farquhar said he had not seen a huge increase in such sales.

"We've got a network of 35 pharmacies all staffed with dedicated pharmacists, dispensing staff and technicians who deal with a huge range of issues including sexual health advice," he said.

"If there had been a significant increase in Lincolnshire, it is something that they would have picked up, but perhaps it is a gradual trend which will be identified more obviously at a later date."

Although a 'baby boom' is something which traditionally happens during a time of economic growth, the current climate could result in some pharmacists noticing an increase in sales of pregnancy testing devices.

And with energy prices expected to rise a further 60 per cent, getting up close and personal might soon be the cheapest way to keep warm.

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