Friday, September 07, 2007

They're doing well in the manor house

Daniel Gross has a great article in Slate that points out that even though the poor and middle class are hurting — even more now with the credit crunch — the rich are doing very well.
At Saks, same-store sales in August were up a stunning 18.2 percent; at Tiffany, same-store U.S. sales rose 17 percent in the second quarter. Indeed, luxury retailers are in an expansive mood. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week (subscription required) that 'this year, some 30 high-end retailers have opened boutiques in Austin [Texas], including Tiffany & Co., Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, David Yurman, Louis Vuitton and Burberry.' These stores are located in a new mall anchored by Neiman Marcus, where same-store sales rose a healthy 4.6 percent in August. Among the strongest performers: 'designer handbags, shoes, designer jewelry, women's fine apparel, and men's.'
The top 20 percent of American income earners spend more in a given year than the bottom three quintiles combined
the economy should hold up even if Wal-Mart sales stagnate. As Gross put it,
Today, analysts are likely sifting through the jobs report [which were down for August, surprising everyone; the Dow lost nearly 200 points] and ratcheting down their forecasts for the Christmas season. It may well turn out to be a glum one for many retailers. But as long as the lights are on in the mansion on the top of the hill, the growing number of stores and businesses that cater to their residents will be busy.

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