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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: As the shopping frenzy kicks off today, high-end stores are hoping to do particularly well. Luxury sales are up 10 percent over this same time last year. This bodes well for the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom right? Well, maybe. Ashley Milne-Tyte fills us in.

ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: Consumers with a net worth of $10 million or more are expected to spend lavishly this season. Good news for Bergdorf's and Barneys.

But Milton Pedraza of The Luxury Institute says many lower-tier millionaires have plenty of their net worth tied up in their homes and may be feeling rather cautious given the downturn in the housing market.

So this group, Pedraza says, may go for the $5,000 watch this year instead of the $15,000 one.

MILTON PEDRAZA: That can mean the difference between a great holiday season and a good —- it's gonna still be a strong holiday season but we believe there may be some potential for softness as the merely wealthy pull back just a little bit.

He says 80 percent of those millionaires made every penny of their fortunes themselves, so they have good reason not to splurge in uncertain times.

In New York, I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.