In Houston, Chanel's new 5,000 square-foot galleria is styled after Coco Chanel's Baroque-inspired apartment, with bronze screens, an antique fireplace and a chandeliered shoe salon.
Yves Saint Laurent's 10,000-square-foot flagship women's store on Rodeo Drive, in Beverly Hills, Calif., its biggest, features white marble and polished brass with a discreet back-alley entrance for celebrities.
And in downtown Manhattan, Hermès, Salvatore Ferragamo and Paul Smith are set to open locations at Brookfield Place, a $300 million luxurious redevelopment of the World Financial Center on the Hudson waterfront, with a glass pavilion and European-themed gourmet market.
Purveyors of high-end luxury goods are chasing millionaires in the United States, as upper-income spending falters in Europe and in the emerging markets once considered luxury's promised land. And the wealth, they say, is not just confined to the American coasts.
Fast-growing industries, like technology and energy, are transforming cities like Houston, Dallas and San Jose, Calif., into some of the densest aggregations of wealth in the world. Since 2012, the number of high-net-worth individuals has jumped as much as 20 percent in Dallas and 18 percent in Houston, according to a Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management tally.
Propelled by market gains and a skewed economic recovery, the United States' share of the world's superrich is rebounding. Since mid-2013, the number of millionaires in the United States has grown by 1.6 million, by far the biggest increase in the world and dwarfing the 90,000 Chinese who crossed the million-dollar mark since then, Credit Suisse estimates.
In 2014, Americans with net wealth of more than $50 million outnumbered their Chinese counterparts eight to one. And the United States is set to remain by far the wealthiest country, Credit Suisse says, with aggregate wealth of over $114 trillion in 2019.
Luxury retailers now see America's ultrarich, over Hong Kong magnates or Russian moguls, as their biggest drivers of growth,
"If you look in the past year, the United States has been at the top of our investment plans," said Michele Norsa, chief executive of Salvatore Ferragamo, the Italian luxury shoemaker.
"There are opportunities on the West Coast, with the tech industry there and Asian tourism," Mr. Norsa said. "There are opportunities in Miami, which is becoming important as a window to Latin America. We see opportunities not just this year, but in the long term."
The strong luxury spending is welcome news for an industry grappling with slowing growth in Europe and in emerging markets that once seemed to offer the most potential for growth, but are now hit by weaker asset prices, currency pressures and economic and political turmoil.4
Luxury sales in China, especially, have slowed in the face of a crackdown on bribery, and probably led to the first decline in luxury sales there in over a decade, according to Bain, the consultancy. A weak ruble and low consumer confidence have taken a toll on spending by another group of big luxury spenders: moneyed Russians.