It looks like luxury retail is getting ready for a comeback. Shoppers in enviable tax brackets are doing a better job of prying their wallets open, at least if you can believe their stock prices. Brick and mortar stores like Tiffany and Saks as well as online e-tailors like Whiteflash.com all show signs of progress heading into Black Friday, meaning that investors were willing to bet on the wealthy.
Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak, explained to USA Today, "We're resting our (upbeat outlook) on the upper-income consumer, who seems to be holding up pretty well." This group, he continued, "is where the vast majority of spending in this country is done."
Research firm Penn Schoen Berland weighed in with agreement: "Well-to-do Americans are feeling much less of a crunch." Households with incomes of greater than $70,000 a year, the firm found, planned to amp up their holiday spending by 27 percent this year. Those with incomes below $40,000 are cutting their holiday joy by 14 percent.
While the bargain hunters turn to the discount retailers, which are expected to do well this year, look for the higher-income consumers to spend more at places like Williams-Sonoma and other mid-range to upscale retail establishments.
So, with deeper pockets starting to open this year, it looks like the wealthy will turn last year's holiday bust around. A good holiday season for Saks shows that those with the bucks are starting to open up, and recoveries start at the top.