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February 9th, 2009

Dismal economy could change status quo for luxury goods

According to an article published today in the Wall Street Journal, the pathetic economy is changing how high-end retailers are selling goods. Last November, New Yorkers knocked each other to the ground as they snatched up deeply discounted luxury goods at Saks Fifth Avenue. Manolos which usually sold for $535 were marked down to $160.

Many consumers are already aware of the comfortable cushion of profit enjoyed by designer goods, and are willing to scour unusual sources for their beloved name brands. These savvy shoppers know to look at Nordstrom’s Rack, wealthy private schools’ bazaars (like Catlin Gabel’s annual Rummage Sale), and even thrift stores for designer diamonds in the rough.

Now even the high-end retailers are feeling the need to drop prices to stay competitive. Saks and other high end stores sometimes carry large inventories, much of which will be out of fashion in just a few months. They realize that in today’s economy, they will have to make like Walmart, and drop prices dramatically, in order to sustain such high levels of inventory.

Furious with Saks for upsetting the typical retail pattern (sell at full price for two months, and wait to do markdowns until the end of the season), some designers are considering pulling their stock from top department stores to ensure that they can continue to sell them at full price in their own retail space.

Fortunately, you’re ahead of the fashion curve if you shop at Shoefly, where you can find great deals on killer shoes, especially now that the Winter Sale’s going on. Check out the beautiful Chie Mihara Crio shoes at top. They’re high enough to satisfy the current trend, but comfortable enough to wear all day. Right now, you can get them for just $246, down from $307.

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