Time for another peek into the “Lifestyles of the Rich… and Cranky.”
The rich would like a little more respect from you hoi polloi. They are fatigued by all this news coverage about the economic travails of the hard-working middle class. First, the subprime mortgage collapse got all the headlines, with sob stories about low-income families losing their homes. Then came the hue and cry about the hardships caused by rising gasoline prices. And now even Republican presidential candidates are trying to “feel the pain” of working stiffs.
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Puh-leeze. Do reporters think that those people are the only ones suffering today? What about the pinch being felt by the rich? Do reporters not know about the downturn this past holiday season in luxury purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, and Tiffany? I tell you, it was an absolutely dreadful experience.
While the media moaned and groaned about the shopping slow-down at Target and other downscale stores, they expressed not a whit of concern about the sluggishness at Tiffany, for example. In the upscale suburbs of New York City, Tiffany stores had a 10-percent drop in sales! This renown jeweler to the rich reports that sales were alarmingly soft on items like $10,000 pendants and brooches. If that’s not a sign of suffering, then I don’t know what is! Yet, all the clueless reporters rushed off to interview tacky Wal-Mart shoppers, as though their little purchases are going to sustain America’s mighty economic machine.
The only good news for upscale marketers is that the super-rich are still buying. Tiffany reports that its sales of jewelry costing $50,000 and up continued to be strong – especially among Europeans, Asians, and Middle-Eastern buyers who came here to shop, taking advantage of the weak American dollar.
Thank goodness for that, right?
“Anxiety for Luxury Brands as Tiffany Reports Slowdown,” The New York Times, January 12, 2008