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The first thing you notice at the Sacramento mall is the traffic. Walk around 10-12 hours a day and you’ll see a dozen different stores, each selling their own versions of California fashion. If you haven’t had the California fashion fix this trip, you’ve probably been in a store with some version of this year’s Christmas-themed coats and blazers.
“I think it’s a little like Christmas and birthdays,” says Lizzie Hildebrand, fashion buyer at Hildebrand and Sons, the upscale specialty-label shop in the mall. With California fashion often selling out of the back room of the shops — at Hildebrand and Sons and other stores — shoppers are often left scrambling at the mall.
California shopping is a seasonal affair.
Most people come to California to shop for Christmas presents with people in their lives and to visit relatives.
And while California shopping is still technically holiday season, shoppers are increasingly finding themselves spending an increasing amount of money on shopping, clothes, entertainment and food. The state is one of the leading exporters of clothes and fashion, though much of the clothing manufacturing is done overseas.
In February, the state’s sales of luxury goods rose to $2.6 billion, roughly 1.9% of the state’s overall GDP, according to a report from market research firm NPD Group Inc. The annual sales were $2 billion, or 19.4% of California’s 2010 GDP, up from $1 billion during the previous year.
At the same time, sales of luxury goods grew by 17% from the previous year.
The growth largely reflects increased spending by Americans, as well as a shift in consumer behavior, said Tom O’Meara, executive director of the California Department of Commerce. “The big story in California is that consumer spending is up,” he said.
In January, for example, consumers bought 3.5% more luxury goods than they did in December.
What’s more, more people are paying for luxury items than they did a year ago, according to the NPD report