Customs: The Great Divide

In 1894 President Grover Cleveland designated Labor Day, the first Monday in September, as a legal holiday. But while the day still honors the U.S. workingman, it has evolved over the years into a much more significant date in the life of the American consumer. No seasonal divide so sharply separates the living and buying patterns of men, women and children across the land. Summer is over, no matter what the calendar says, and change reaches deep into the nation's habits, mood and marketplace.

Before Labor Day is a time of fun in the sun in cool cottons and top-down...

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