As Fat Tuesday quickly turns into Ash Wednesday, Lent will take place from Wednesday, February 13 to Saturday, March 30 in 2013. It may not seem like much on the surface, but this puts companies that sell sinful or excessive consumer products in the position where all the sacrificed joys given up during Lent will take place all in the first quarter of 2013. The list of the seven deadly sins includes gluttony, anger, greed, sloth, envy, pride and lust.
24/7 Wall St. wanted to come up with a list of companies that might fall victim to a portion of the public observing Lent by giving up something precious for more than 40 days all contained in the same quarter. We certainly are not trying to say that these products are all bad, because many are too well anchored in our culture to be eliminated for very long. Many of them are even too fun or too precious to give up.
It has been nearly two years since we gave our own list of the 10 things that Americans waste the most money on. You may guess many of them: certain apparel items, tobacco, entertainment, alcohol, TV and media, gifts, food outside of the home and more. We also want to stress that if you live your life to avoid all of those things, chances are high that you are considered the most boring person alive by your friends and neighbors.
All things being equal, many in America and the rest of the world actually do give up something during Lent. Some sacrifices are physical things that cost money. Other sacrifices are simple (or difficult) personal efforts that have nothing to do with wasting money or being bad for your health. We have picked the largest companies that we feel have large direct exposure to changes of public behavior, particularly that fit into the sin or waste category.
Not all of these companies would fit directly within the category of being “sin stocks.” We are not trying to identify companies as being sinful. We are showing many companies that could be adversely impacted if Joe Public takes Lent very seriously this year. As a reminder, we already had one quarter of negative gross domestic product growth, and consumer spending is up to 70% of that figure.