The Christmas Divide: Luxury Soars While Mass Still Struggles

This Christmas, luxury retailers are generating gains twice as high as mainstream retailers.

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Kitson in Los Angeles said its sales for the weekend were double those of a year ago. On Saturday, Paris Hilton came to sign bottles of her new perfume, priced at $49. All 75 bottles sold out. Sunday saw a double-digit gain, despite rainstorms.

At Ron Herman in the Fred Segal complex, sumptuous cashmere sweaters swept off the shelves along with ponchos, brooches, chain necklaces and anything with sparkle. But the classic Juicy Couture tracksuit for its fifth year in a row remains the bestseller. “It’s a given gift — if you’re not sure, just give them,” said John Eshaya, the store’s women’s buyer.

Some stores, however, have found less success. Traffic was only moderate at the Trina Turk stores in L.A. and Palm Springs, but sales were still up over last year, said designer and owner Trina Turk. “It doesn’t look like Christmas yet” because customers were still buying so many tweed jackets and silk charmeuse shirts for themselves, not the usual smaller, gift items.

— With contributions from Georgia Lee, Atlanta; Rusty Williamson and Holly Haber, Dallas; Joanna Ramey, Washington, and Michelle Dalton Tyree, Los Angeles
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