[Photos courtesy Chris Foster/Elliman via WWD]
WWD offers up a State of the Retail Union today, looking specifically at the toll of the economy on the Hamptons shopping scene. While the beginning of the article reads like a trendy novella ('three generations of trendy women hunt for the perfect dressy summer sandals for an upcoming party, soliciting opinions from the staff on which black-patent style looks best on the twentysomething granddaughter...') the piece serves to highlight the few 'good days' retailers have seen this summer. Despite plenty of cloudy days which bring potential shoppers to town, store owners don't see the uninhibited spending that characterized the Hamptons retail scene in the past. Stores were forced to put items on sale at the start of the season, something rarely seen before.
Beyond markdowns, retailers have turned to famous faces to drum up business, at least in short spurts. Blue & Cream in East Hampton has hosted a bevy of celebrity-fronted events this year, a move that owner Jeff Goldstein said helped boost traffic during an otherwise painfully slow year.
As was widely reported at the start of the summer, the surge of pop-up store openings has changed the retail scene once more. In East Hampton alone, the introduction of Hermès, Michael Kors, Brooks Brothers and Pucci for the summer months has hurt smaller stores that attempt to stay in business year-round. However, luxury brands testing the Hamptons' waters haven't brought down every store, as J.Crew-at-the-Beach and Ralph Lauren's Rugby have successfully found a new coveted mid-priced niche.
· Changing Times in the Hamptons [WWD]