Dallas Retail Holding Up

Retailers say the city has not been hit as hard economically as some other parts of the country.

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Dallas merchants are optimistic about fall, thanks to strong response to early deliveries and brisk business in one of the hottest months of July on record, when temperatures have averaged 100 degrees.

“We’ve been shocked at the number of sweaters and coats we’ve sold,” said Brian Bolke, co-owner of Forty Five Ten luxury emporium, where spring business was up about 5 percent. “It’s real investment dressing. They want something they can live in and enjoy, and not only wear once.”

While nobody is exactly popping Champagne, the retail business here fared better than nationwide, according to merchants and analysts.

“For the past several months, our Texas stores have done well relative to store performance in other parts of the country,” said Ginger Reeder, vice president of Neiman Marcus Group, where overall comparable-store sales fell 2.4 percent in June.

She declined to elaborate, but industry sources said the downtown flagship is doing particularly well and business is holding at Neiman’s NorthPark Center store, which does $180 million in annual sales.

Supported by oil and gas wealth and a construction boom, the Dallas economy continues to grow, though at a slower rate than in the past few years, noted Terry Clower, associate director of the Center for Economic Development and Research at the University of North Texas.

“We still are creating jobs and overall income growth in this area,” Clower noted. “This does not mean there are not some threats out there. We are the headquarters of AMR Corp., parent of American Airlines, and as they trim their workforce, certainly some of that will [affect us].”
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