Subprime hits the Armani set

Mannequins pose outside of a Chanel outlet


Scott Jagow: Another set of companies that might start feeling squeezed: high-end retailers. Sarah Gardner explains.

Sarah Gardner: High gas prices and the U.S. housing meltdown haven't fazed the rich and fashionable. So far, at least. Sales at Saks Fifth Avenue jumped 18 percent in August.

But now there's news that a handful of upscale retailers are putting some of those Armani and Versace orders on hold, nervous about the holidays.

Howard Davidowitz: If I were in the luxury business, I would be playing it cautiously.

Retail analyst Howard Davidowitz says all retailers are now buying and hiring more conservatively.

And Candace Corlett at WSL Strategic Retail forsees high-income shoppers cutting back.

Candace Corlett: The fallout in the mortgage market, the trickle-down effect in the financial markets -- all of this is going to have Wall Street bonuses smaller, on hold or non-existent.

And if it's bye-bye million-dollar bonus, that diamond-encrusted handbag from Chanel may just start looking a bit overpriced at $260,000.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

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Sarah Gardner is a reporter on the Marketplace sustainability desk.


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