Jennifer Prentice, a medical- equipment saleswoman in Minneapolis, once had no qualms about dropping $600 or more for Gucci purses. Now she spends $300 for Coach Inc. bags and is filling in her Burberry wardrobe with pieces from J. Crew.
Mac McKay entered this year ready to spend after sales at his flower shop in Arlington, Virginia, rebounded. He planned to take his first vacation since the recession and start a $30,000 kitchen renovation.
When stock markets tumble, wealthy U.S. shoppers typically cut back their visits to such luxury emporiums as Saks Inc. and Nordstrom Inc. Yet even as the markets have seesawed, they’ve kept right on spending.
Tumi Holdings Inc., the designer of black-nylon luxury travel bags, is seeking as much as $300 million in an initial public offering as retailers of higher- priced goods outpace the rest of the industry.
The Made-in-America label has undergone a deluxe makeover. Everyone from Brooks Brothers to the Olsen twins is using it to hawk luxury goods, a tactic made popular by blue-collar brands such as Levi Strauss & Co. and Chrysler Corp.