Wednesday, December 27, 2006

No Bargains For The Natives

Time works its changes in mysterious ways.

Recently I read the New York Times article about bargain hunters traveling from London to New York because of the dollar’s weak economic performance against the pound.

According to the article in the NYT, the pound was about $1.96, up from about $1.60 four years ago. This was enough to get Londoner’s to come to New York and shop.

“The British are pretty savvy travelers and are pretty keenly aware of the exchange rate,” said Fred Dixon, the vice president for tourism development at NYC & Company. “The British and the Irish will come to New York for a long weekend to shop like we would go to Boston.”

But that is not whole story. On Dec.26th I went to find some homespun after Christmas sale items in the clothing stores on Broadway between Houston and Canal. That stretch of Manhattan features the likes of Banana Republic, American Eagle, and Bloomingdales SoHo, Max Mara, Mexx, Prada, Armani Express and many other known names on the side streets off of Broadway.

Now I wasn’t expecting wholesale prices in the after Christmas sales but I thought there would be quite a few items discounted 30 percent or more.

Not this year, not only were post Christmas prices not very discounted, there were few items on sale.

But shoppers were in a state of frenzy, buying everything in sight.

I was in a state of shock. All that I knew as a New Yorker was at risk. Maybe purchasing at close to wholesale in the city was going the way of the VCR tape deck.

That might be the case. Almost everyone cheerfully carrying a shopping bag was not speaking English. I could recognize German, French, Russian, Spanish, Italian and British English. Those who looked and spoke New York were by and large not buying anything.

I asked Alfonso, the floor manager of Bloomingdales SoHo how many of his current customers were foreign tourists. He replied about 85%. With customers shopping the exchange rate there was little need for his or other stores in the area to drastically reduce prices.

But here, here in the capital of “I can get it wholesale”, those days of discounts may be gone.

1 comment:

rogerio (cariocando) said...

The same thing is happening here in Rio.
The city is crowded...Americans,Europeans and Asians all around, restaurant lines go forever...and we, cariocas (natives from Rio) are paying the piper....