Shoppers treat themselves to lattes and lacy bras

Few companies were clobbered harder than Starbucks in the recession. The coffee chain with outposts on every corner came to represent all that was wrong with American businesses and shoppers: unchecked expansion, self-indulgence and mindless credit-card swiping.

But now customers who swore off frivolous spending during the recession are lining up again for their $4 caffeine fix. The company's net income nearly doubled and revenue rose 17 percent in the latest quarter versus a year earlier, as more Americans allowed themselves a small treat.

After seeing their retirement funds and home equity shrink severely, consumers tightened their belts in a shift some economists dubbed the New Frugality. Fortunately for the world's largest latte purveyor and other peddlers of small luxuries, Americans have a short memory when it comes to the economy.