Stores Reach Into Bag of Tactics as Luxury-Goods Sales Improve: Core luxury consumers—those with assets of at least $5 million—have re-emerged from the spending slump, and people with at least $1 million in assets are on their way back as well, says Hana Ben-Shabat, partner at management consultancy A.T. Kearney.

Optimism is creeping back into style, following three seasons of budget slashing, according to luxury-retail executives who will attend New York Fashion Week.More than 50 designers will showcase their collections in the tents at Bryant Park this week, with dozens more holding shows elsewhere in Manhattan as part of the twice-a-year fashion extravaganza staged for retail buyers and the press.Forecasting consumer sentiment six months out—when those styles will land in stores—has become easier in recent months, as wealthy shoppers have exhibited an increased willingness to spend. Even so, there’s a focus on luring back “aspirational shoppers.””We think we’ve weathered the storm and want to move somewhat from defense to offense—but we’re going to do it in a targeted, cautious manner,” says Ron Frasch, president and chief merchandising officer of luxury retailer Saks Inc.
By Elizabeth Holmes and Rachel Dodes, Feb. 9 2010 WSJ

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