Most people spent last year tightening their belts, but one area producing a hefty profit growth has been the market for trousers with an elasticated waist. Sales of the forgivingly stretchy garments were up 16% in 2008, according to Asda.

So the obesity epidemic has its plus points as well as its minuses then. Will Asda follow the trend to its logical extension and add a gut-friendly waistband to its famous £20 power suits for all those bargain-hunting executives taking their corporate lunches at the nearby KFC?

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