By
with contributions from Nana Arikado
 on February 24, 2009

TOKYO — “Cheap, isn’t it?” one young female shopper remarked to her friend on a recent Wednesday afternoon as she brushed past racks of oversize sweatshirts on sale for 1,999 yen, or $21 at current exchange, at youth-oriented shopping center Shibuya 109.

She and scores of other consumers in Japan’s recession are becoming more price- and value-conscious than ever, shunning luxury labels and traditional department stores in favor of cheaper but equally trendy alternatives like Uniqlo and Hennes & Mauritz, or opting to curtail their fashion spending altogether as they worry about the economy and job security.

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