Higher prices spurred by inflation are begining to make a dent with the well-to-do shoppers of Saks Fifth Avenue, according to the retailer’s new survey.
About 62% of Saks customers said they plan to spend the same amount or more on luxury merchandise over the next several months, down from 68% in September when the company conducted its periodic Saks Luxury Pulse.
“We are coming off of a few years of aberrational growth and I think we are in for a little bit of turbulence,” Saks.com chief executive Marc Metrick told The Post. “We saw it coming at the end of last year and we are experiencing it now.”
The survey of 2,832 US-based customers over the age of 18, conducted between Jan 13-17, also showed shoppers are priortizing their discretionary funds on travel, then events and activities, and lastly on clothing.
Some 72% of Saks’ customers have already booked or are planning to book a trip, with warm weather locales topping the getaways, according to the survey.
Vacation spending is buoying the luxury retailer and traffic on the website has been “strong,” but converting browsers to purchasers “is not where we want it to be,” Metrick said.
He said shoppers are being “more deliberate and shopping longer.”
Of those who earn $200,000 or more, about 68% plan to spend the same or more on luxury items, down from 70% in September, according to the survey.
Some 58% of customers earning between $100,000 and $199,000 plan to spend the same or more on luxury this spring, down from 66% in September.
Meanwhile, 55% of those earning less than $100,000 are planning to spend the same, down from 61%.
Saks uses the index as a bellwether for consumer sentiment to determine which services customers value.
“We really like in-store returns and have gone out of our way with our Saks Fifth Avenue stores” to accommodate shoppers who bought something online and want to return it at a bricks-and-mortar store. There are special return desks designated for online returns, Metrick said.
Last month, Neiman Marcus eliminated its in store return desks, as The Post reported, as part of a layoff of nearly 5% of its workforce.
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