The canary in the mineshaft

There is an interesting article on Reuters Curse of the Devil Wears Prada by Abha Bhattarai today about how luxury goods are being affected by the high cost of petrol and other economic pressures. Apparently the middle classes and the nearly rich (people with only 5 million USD to their name) are cutting back on luxury goods including Calvin Kleins, their latte from Starbucks and Tiffany’s the jeweller. Are these luxury brand the canary in the mineshaft warning of an economic downturn?Well this follows on from profit warnings across a number of industrial sectors including most parts of the technology sector. If a five-dollar coffee is too rich, what about a 500 USD PlayStation 3?