Madison Avenue stores are pumping the air-conditioning but the heat is still on to move merchandise. So how are sales going to fall out this season? Will stores go straight to 75% off or have luxury vendors flexed their muscles enough to keep prices in check?
Sure, we have our own opinions but first we thought we would extend the question to our peers. Here's what they had so say:
Lauren Dimet Waters
Second City Style
I think we are going to see some amazing sales again this spring. Will it be like Christmas? No. But it will be close. Many stores are already offering 40% off spring merch which usually goes on sale Memorial Day ... a clear sign stores are hurting. I think by Memorial Day we will see giant clearances.
While I think many stores (especially department stores) did a better job of controlling merchandise, I still think they are going to find themselves with a lot of inventory. Who are really going to be hurt? The high-end luxury retailers, the free standing stores like YSL and Micheal Kors.
Women are still going to want some new stuff, but they are going to wait for killer prices before they shop.
Sales are definitely earlier this year. In fact, this weekend I was asked to a private pre-shop event for spring 55% off at Neiman Marcus.
I don't think the sales will be as quick and as steeply discounted as fall, since the retailers have had a few months to tailor their buys and their stock levels to the current economic climate--the retailers are much better prepared this season.
That said, no one is shopping at the moment, except during Friends & Family and other such events that the stores have been using to test the waters. (And I don't blame them--once you've shopped at 80% off, it's hard to go back to full price.) I have a feeling we'll be seeing events like this for another few weeks, and once Mother's Day comes and goes, the stores will go to 40% off. It's just a matter of who marks down first; since they have nothing to lose (i.e. their vendors are already ticked off because of last fall). My money is on Saks.