Bling, booze and prayer: how retail is surviving the recessionI definitely see a lot of "cross-shoppers" from the posts of fellow JCAs on the JCA Blog Roll Call. Several JCAs have a knack to style pieces ranging on the retail spectrum, pairing vintage finds, with Target, J.Crew and Louis Vuitton. They do it in such a way that it all looks put together.
By Liana Grey
May 23, 2011
Elaine Wynn’s famed resorts here, the Wynn and the Encore, survived the recession. “The luxury market is alive and well,” she told a packed session that kicked off the International Council of Shopping Centers’ Annual Conference on Sunday...
In a ballroom at the Las Vegas Hilton, about 300 women – and the occasional man, like Consolo’s business partner Joe Aquino – sat at tables draped in orange cloth, sipping one of three choices of wine.
It was the ICSC’s second annual Women in Retail Special Interest Group, one of 12 breakaway sessions held on the first day of the conference, in and around the cavernous Las Vegas Convention Center, and four industry leaders swapped advice on how to handle today’s breed of customer.
At the Wynn hotel, out went a Daniel Boulud bistro and in went the Lakeside Grill. “That had a different price point, but still a gay and happy and joyful environment,” Wynn explained. “It’s a matter of being value conscious.”
That’s the new motto of shoppers across sectors. “People are still cautious and they’re working on paying off their debt,” said fellow panelist Terri Simard, vice president of law at Target, which itself cut costs during the recession by developing its own properties. The cost-conscious trend means fewer impulse purchases, whether at Target or a Fifth Avenue boutique.
At a party thrown by a fashion magazine earlier this month, an employee of Graff, the jewelry chain, told Wynn that special, quality stones are in high demand. “People are more interested in intrinsic value,” she said. “They want their bling, but they want to convince themselves it’s an investment.”
Then again, sometimes all shoppers need are shoes and jewelry that won’t max out their credit card. “My bling comes from Target,” joked Holly Cohen, senior vice president of J.Crew, who lives in Miami and travels regularly to New York.
She isn’t the only fashion-forward professional with a Target necklace: the post-recession era has brought the resurgence of what Consolo calls the “cross-shopper.”
When hunting for beauty and fashion basics, Target costumers aren’t quick to cross the aisle for international designer goods, Simard said, but they will mix and match mid-range ones.
“People will pair Target with J.Crew with Saks,” she said. “They’re more adventurous.”
J.Crew took note of this trend, Cohen said, and introduced a diverse range of lines in-house, including bridal gowns and the Collection, which she calls “higher-end, but still cheaper.”
The brand is also thriving thanks to celebrity endorsement. Newlywed British princess, Kate Middleton has been spotted in Crew, and the Obama family are regular customers: the First Daughters sported the company’s dresses on inauguration day two years ago, and their father has worn J.Crew ties. When Michele Obama appeared in a J.Crew skirt, Cohen said, “that was huge.” ...
On an upscale level, of course, that means bringing in restaurants to under-served areas. “It not only revitalized neighborhoods, it brought retailers to neighborhoods they’d never even thought of going,”
Consolo explained, pointing to the Flatiron District, which underwent a foodie renaissance that paved the way for a new J.Crew shop to thrive there.
Trendy dinner spots are a risky business, but cosmetics, chocolate, and wine sales are always stable, the ladies agreed. People will pop open champagne to celebrate, and “when times are bad, they drink to feel better,” Consolo said. ...
What are your thoughts on the article? Do you like to mix J.Crew with higher and lower end pieces? Please share! :)