Retail Detail. Luxury Sales Continue to Climb While Mid-Level Market Still Bleak

July 21, 2010 • Fashion

Hermes handbags, commonly retailing for over $10,000

If you look around these days, it may not seem like the economy is on the upswing yet. Retailers still continue to shutter, empty storefronts stand unoccupied, and the ones that are still open are forced to mark down merchandise until its finally deemed acceptable to buy. But for the luxury market, that's not really the case. As the New York Post has investigated, many luxury labels are posting double digit sales for the first half of the year, while mainstream retailers are struggling to obtain even mid-single digit sales.

For example, Hermes — whose luxury handbags commonly retail for $10,000 and up — said yesterday its
sales surged a stronger-than-expected 27 percent during the first half
of the year, with growing demand from super-rich shoppers in the US
helping drive the results. In June alone, sales at Jaguar reportedly
spiked 53 percent and luxury hotel room rates rose 6 percent, while mid-level car dealer Ford
recorded sales gains of just 13 percent and economy hotel room rates
slipped nearly 3 percent.

At luxury upscale Saks, sales are up 6 percent year-to-date, as is other luxury labels like Burberry and Armani while more mass market department stores like JCPenney Apple reported year-to-date sales gained a scant 1.6 percent. And yesterday, said quarterly sales at its upscale retail stores
surged 73 percent to $2.58 billion, versus a first-quarter sales gain
of 6.9 percent reported a month earlier by Best Buy.

So what's with the sudden increase in luxury market shopping? Unaffected by many of the economic issues that plague the mainstream market shopper, the luxury shopper seems to operate on a whole different level. "The high-end consumer is
back this year
, and it's mainly a question of psychology," says Craig Johnson, founder of the Customer Growth Partners, a Connecticut-based retail consultant."If they're not spending, it's because they're simply not in the
"While most shoppers weigh needs for clothing,
electronics and groceries against weekly paychecks and health-care
costs, luxury consumers' spending habits can be affected most by
emotions like guilt and shame, says Andrew Sacks, president of Agency
Sacks, a research firm focused on the luxury industry. That's some serious retail therapy! Hopefully the mid-level market will start to catch up as the economic climate continues to mend itself.

Article Source: New York Post 

Photo Source:

-Alia Rajput

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