‘Bling Bling’ No Longer Big With Wealthy Consumers?
Perhaps a little perspective is needed on the luxury recovery.A flood of recent news reports, including this nice wrap-up from Bloomberg, say the wealthy have regained their appetite for $490,000 watches, $245,000 Rolls-Royces and $100,000 safaris to Africa.The articles credit Wall Street bonuses for the comeback, as well as “pent-up” demand among the wealthy who suffered a whole year without a new pair of Manolo Blahniks.“There’s just a lot of pent-up demand amongst the well-to-do to have beautiful things,” said Benjamin Macklowe, vice president of Macklowe Gallery, a Madison Avenue shop that sells French art nouveau furniture and Tiffany lamps that can cost $3.5 million.Let us put “recovery” in context. As one top luxury executive recently told me, “If our sales at Neiman Marcus went from 100 to zero last year, and now they’re back to 5, you could say we’ve recovered,” she said. “But it’s nowhere near the pre-recession levels.”
By Robert Frank, March 31, 2010 WSJ