The growth of private labels over the past decades has been attributed to various factors. This article formally addresses the link between private-label success and economic expansions and contractions using recently developed time-series/econometric techniques. The findings confirm conventional wisdom that a country's private-label share increases when the economy is suffering and shrinks when the economy is flourishing. However, asymmetries are found in the extent to and speed with which private-label share changes in cyclical up- versus downturns. Consumers switch more extensively to store brands during bad economic times than they switch back to national brands in a subsequent recovery. In addition, the switch to private-label brands is faster than the opposite movement to national brands after the recession ends. Finally, not only are consumers more prone to buy private labels during economic downturns, but some keep buying them when bad economic times are long over as well, leaving permanent "scars" on national brands' performance level. The authors argue that national-brand manufacturers can mitigate the effect of an economic downturn on their shares by intensifying their marketing-support activities in recessions. Such a proactive strategy is not often observed. On the contrary, available evidence suggests that many manufacturers exacerbate their predicament by cutting back on their marketing expenses when the economy turns sour. Most retailers invest more strongly in their private-label program when the economy deteriorates, making it even more difficult for national brands to catch up with the share lost during contractions.