Doing some early holiday shopping these past few days, I have surprised to see some very good traffic in upscale retailers such as Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus. I stood and watched numerous customers buying Louis Vuitton handbags in Bloomingdales and then my curiousity led me to see if similar was happening at Neiman's. Salespersons there responded to my question of who business has been: " We often have a waiting list for the top selling styles. Bussiness has really been quite good sicnce early summer, but recently has been very strong."
Then for the curiosity I hit the handbag departments of Nordstrom and then Macy's, the same commments from sales staff. One staffer said "the loss of Robb & Stuckey has been our gain."
Furniture stores here said traffic is picking up, but they fear that many potential customers do not want to shell out $3500 for a group furniture purchase but still want to feel good and buy $700 to $2000 in the handbag and shoe departments of fashion retailers.
In smaller less affluent markets I would guess that the same thing is happening with women buying Vera Bradley and Coach. Here a lady can feel good and fashionable by picking up some new glamor for $100 to $600.