investing

Return of real luxury

Monday, Nov. 30
Posted 4 p.m. EDT

The retail world is trying to restore the status of luxury by making it less accessible.

In a previous post, I noted that by virtue of being easily attainable, luxury items had lost their luster.

That was last year. According to The New York Times, high-end retailers Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus are stocking fewer expensive items this year and they're already selling out -- $1,995 boots and $2,695 fur-collared jackets are flying out the door.

Last December, I was among the bargain-shoppers happily raking through the 75-percent off racks at Saks Fifth Avenue. This year, I'll have no such pecuniary luck. Saks, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom are all warning if you don't buy it now, and at full price, forget it. Lead times for ordering luxury goods are too long for them to restock this season when they run out.

Perhaps a return to spending will foretell an economic upturn in 2010. The millionaire population has taken a financial beating in 2009 according to Federal Reserve data, dropping back to 2003 to 2004 levels. As we emerge from the recession, spending across all wealth levels could give a much-needed boost to the economy.

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Questions? Comments? E-mail Your_Wealth@bankrate.com

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