How's The Luxury Consumer? Look at the Stock Market

A shopper carries Saks Fifth Avenue bags up Fifth Avenue in New York City.
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A shopper carries Saks Fifth Avenue bags up Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Want to know how the luxury customer is doing? Look at the stock market, said Saks Chairman and CEO Steve Sadove.

Right now, with the market's latest gyrations, the consumer may be starting to see "yellow caution lights," Sadove told CNBC.

"With the volatility in the markets, the consumer is feeling a little bit cautious, but I think (the consumer's) spending," Sadove said.

Saks will be taking it slow too, as it plans for the Christmas holiday season.

"We’ll continue to be cautious," Sadove said. "I think you’ll see a little bit more 'opportunity buying' in certain categories, like the shoes, like the handbags. I would say inventories will be growing a little bit less than consumption, but we’ll still continue be cautious."

Shopping with Caution
Shopping with Caution   

Sales of shoes, handbags, and fashion jewelryhave started to come back, Sadove said. Men's tailored clothing also is selling better, and has been since bonuses returned to Wall Street.

Perhaps, most significantly, consumers have shown that they are willing to pay full price again to be able to get the right item in their size.

"Part of what’s good about luxury is limited distribution and scarcity, and part of what we’ve done a good job as an industry is bringing back the scarcity notion," Sadove said.

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