Economic Woes Hurt The Trade

Economic woes may be keeping Asia’s big spenders away from Rodeo Drive and Madison Avenue, but surprisingly, the high-end boutique business is still humming in both New York and L.A.

The reason: an influx of American tourists and a growing base of local customers.

Retailers such as Chanel, Hermes and Lacoste are seeing more tourists from Russia and South America in their stores, but the strongest growth has come from local customers and American shoppers.

“I don’t think there’s one particular ethnic group that has replaced those Asian shoppers,” said Tony Cherbak, a retail analyst and partner with Deloitte & Touche. “I think it’s basically these businesses are drawing from their basic demographics, especially Rodeo Drive, which has a hard-core following from its central demographics on the west side and Bel-Air.”

Marion Davidson, vice president of marketing for Hermes, said, “There are fewer Japanese customers, but those who are visiting the stores are spending quite a bit more. The Continue reading…