Retailers Hope Discounting Falls Out of Fashion
Luxury fashion designers are looking for consumers to go all Barbara Kruger and get with the mantra, “I shop therefore I am.”
Oh yes, they also want consumers living by that motto to be prepared to pay full retail instead of seeking discounts. Enough with conscious consumerism; let’s have some more conspicuous consumption.
To try and get consumers over the notion that spending to the extreme is a bad, dare we say gauche behavior, 700 stores in the U.S. and 11 other countries will be celebrating Fashion’s Night Out by staying open until 11:00 p.m. on the eve of Fashion Week in New York.
Neiman Marcus will be participating with all 41 stores providing entertainment to shoppers. Saks Fifth Avenue is bringing in 40 designers to talk with shoppers in the store.
Part of the deal for participating in the event is that retailers agree not to engage in the price cutting that has become commonplace, even among the most upscale shops.
“We told retailers, this [event] is not about discounting,” Steven Kolb, executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, told The Wall Street Journal.
“Last year, it was ‘Let’s get out of this inventory at any cost,'” Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren told The Journal. “Here we are nine months later, and we have inventory back in line so there isn’t a need for clearance,” he says.
Unfortunately for high-end retailers, consumers seem increasingly pleased with their ability to put-off purchasing, making it more likely that discounts will be needed to drive sales. Twenty-six percent of consumers in a 2007 Conference Board study strongly agreed, “Luxury is less about the material things one has or one owns and more about how one experiences life, a sense of happiness and satisfaction.”
Discussion Questions: Do you sense that luxury consumers are getting ready to spend more freely than they have during most of the recession? What must high-end designers and retailers do to break the discounting cycle? Is it even possible to get consumers, affluent or otherwise, to pay full retail anymore?
- Fashion World Moves to Damp Sale Frenzy – The Wall Street Journal
- Fashion’s Night Out 2009
- Value Is Placed on Freedom to Experience Rather Than Possessions – Consumer Research Center of The Conference Board/PRNewswire