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retail-features

Summer in the Hamptons: Better, But No Boom

The Hamptons aren’t over. They’re just mellowing out amid the global recession.

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Retail in the Hamptons.

Photo By Robert Mitra

Retail in the Hamptons.

Photo By Robert Mitra



With the launch of its e-commerce site, editnewyork.com, the upper Madison Avenue multibrand store is offering its clients in the Hamptons a new service. “They can now shop from their pool or late at night and receive delivery the next day,” said Alissa Emerson, co-owner of Edit, which will return to Jobs Lane in Southampton for a second season. “We expect that our sales volume will be two to three times the volume of our city store for these summer months,” said Emerson.

In addition to some of their Manhattan customers who vacation in Southampton, “we are exposed to a larger cross section of women that may not have found us otherwise — such as residents of TriBeCa and downtown Manhattan,” said Valerie Feigen, Edit’s other co-owner.

When Diane von Furstenberg opened a store in Southampton last summer, she designed exclusive products for the beach, such as totes, sarongs and flip-flops. But the designer learned this is not what consumers wanted. “We found that our customer is looking to do her fall shopping while she is in the Hamptons in the summer,” said Jeff Huto, vice president of global retail. “There was far less wear-now shopping than we would have thought. By the time summer rolls around, she has done her spring-summer shopping and is moving on to future seasons.”

The 5,000-square-foot Main Beach is capitalizing on SUP, or stand-up paddling, currently the fastest growing water sport. “It’s just really hitting the women’s market this year. It’s an entry for women to become part of the surf culture without having to learn surfing,” which is more difficult, Svanberg said. As a result, wet suits, boardshorts, rash guards, hats, sunglasses, standup paddles are selling, and Main Beach further capitalizes by offering SUP private and group lessons. “We’re ringing up more items on register, but less expensive ones. For the first time in 25 years, people are looking for good values, definitely in the Hamptons. Even the guy who was worth $100 million two years ago and worth $50 million now — in his mind, he’s gone broke,” said Svanberg.

Regarding the social climate, “Until you move into June, it’s hard to gauge,” said Binn. “Last year was lively, even in a challenging year, and people were skeptical about what the mood and energy would be like in the Hamptons. But there were just as many events going on. People were socially active and I think this year, we’re on an upward trajectory.”

At Hampton Jitney, “2009 was our best year ever as far as passenger counts, and currently for 2010, we are already surpassing those numbers, month to month,” said Carly Shephard, marketing and public relations manager. “Last year, a lot of people that normally take vacations didn’t and just came east. A lot of people also left their cars behind because of the high price of gas and used our service.”

She also said Hampton Jitney is “relaunching and rebranding” its Ambassador Class luxury service, for the first time showing movies on board, serving healthier snacks, Tazo teas, and offering roomier, two-in-one seating, among other amenities.

No matter what the economy brings, the Hamptons at times provides a captive audience. “There’s that first rainy day,” said Gregory. “And certain days you get tennis elbow and have to go shopping.”

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