January 28, 2009

News flash: The low end trails, while couture flies high

Even with the slow economy, it was a bit of a shocker when the ultra-cheap chain Steve & Barry's announced its closing last November. For anyone who wondered how they could make money selling nearly everything for under $20, the answer turned out to be: they couldn't. Even with celebrity lines like the Starbury shoe and Sarah Jessica Parker's Bitten, the numbers just didn't work. And now the latest: Target, the department store chain known for bringing high design to the masses, follows up the announcement of its upcoming Alexander McQueen collaboration with worse news, that it's eliminating 1500 jobs; and discounter Filene's Basement announced it will close 11 of its 36 stores.

Meanwhile, the couture shows continue to be as over-the-top as ever, and with reason: Dior's couture sales were up 35 percent in 2008, while Chanel's were up a trifling 20 percent, says the Wall Street Journal. Let them eat cake!

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