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Lucky Shop & How the Economy is Really Doing

posted by LIM College staff Staff Profiles Desktops & Documents lola.rephann My Documents website BLOGS Hubspot Blogs Short Takes JenniferPetrosiniMy mother and I approached the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 W. 18th Street) around 11:30 on a Saturday morning. The Lucky Shop event (sponsored by Lucky Magazine) is a fairly typical shopping event pitched to true fashion-hounds as an opportunity for bargains. One or two boyfriends were mixed into the electrified energy of the venue: a DJ blasted trendy music and male models weaved through the event serving drinks. Mini-boutiques were staged for each of the 30 brands featured, each with a vendor rep.  How well events like this do may be a truer signal of how the retail economy is really going, whatever the pundits say.

Although all of this sounds appealing, the racks were nevertheless obviously full. There were not a lot of  Lucky Shops bags circulating around. Retail businesses have been reporting shocking losses in their annual reports, and brands are folding left and right. What’s more, a recent consumer study reported that 49% of power retail customers have shifted their business to discount stores. That might suggest that the Lucky Shops event would be a success, a way for shoppers to buy designer labels at discounted prices. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that consumer credit rose by $1.76 billion to $2.564 trillion in January, an increase at an annual rate of 0.8% from figures collected by the Federal Reserve. Why isn’t this money being spent on clothing, especially discounted clothing? 

One reason may be that even high-end retailers have had to offer steep discounts. Although the Lucky Shops event offers some high-end merchandise, so do stores such as Neiman Marcus, sometimes up to 50% off in-season prices. Lucky Shops is no longer a special event to consumers, as they can purchase discounted merchandise in the department stores, with the luxury of shopping in a beautiful environment, with perks like dressing rooms and return policies.

Whatever the cause of the country’s economic downfall, I was on a hunt to purchase a few items. My mother and I browsed the racks and finagled our way through the crowds. I went to one booth, Foley + Corinna, and immediately loved their merchandise. As I began looking through the pile of shoes and boots, my mom said that one could purchase any three items for $250, combining shoes and clothing. I saw the prices of the clothing, which were high, averaging $150. But I fell in love with a pair of unique distressed-leather boots. The vendor representative looked at me and said, “I’m sorry, but those boots are this season, and are priced at $259. You have to purchase those separately.” I couldn’t believe they did not label the shoes properly. And the boots looked as if they were worn by a woman for months. In order for vendors to make a profit at this event, and at times like these, they must think logically and display honestly.

Sure, models weaving in and out of a crowd with drinks are nice, but give me a genuine value any day.

-- Jennifer Petrosini

Further Reading:

A recent study of shopping

A New York Times piece on shopping

The Wall Street Journal on spending habits

Visit the Lucky Magazine site to purchase tickets for next year’s Lucky Shop

Topics: fashion trends