Luxury Shoppers Bypass Baubles for Comfort

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Apr 09, 2002
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In the post-September 11, post-NASDAQ-boom world of American wealth, comfort is in, but excess is out, reports Reuters. Big spenders still buy expensive homes and cars without batting an eyelash, analysts say, however, they hesitate before purchasing top-of-the-line jewelry or fashions.

World-famous brands like Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, Gucci Group, and Neiman Marcus Group Inc. posted their worst year in recent memory in 2001 due to their exposure to consumer shocks.

In some corners, however, high end is booming. Multi-million-dollar New York homes and condos are selling like hot cakes, according to Howard Davidowitz, chairman of the Davidowitz & Associates, a retail consulting firm. Sales of high-end Jaguar and Land Rovers vehicles rocketed in March, Ford Motor Co. says. And top-line dishwashers, ovens and refrigerators also exceeded sales targets at Whirlpool Corp. this winter.

Moderator Comment: Are a growing number of consumers
intentionally trading down on retail purchases?

Call out the police for the protection of ostentatious
displays of wealth and conspicuous consumption. You may be shocked to hear,
as were we, that “Instead of buying a Prada handbag for $900, many high-brow
consumers are opting for a $250 bag from Coach.” Thank goodness, Liberace is
not alive to see this. [George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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