In recognition of the day-after-Christmas sale frenzy we thought we would take you to the busiest retail spot in town, so here you are: the shoe department at Saks.
We have seen some frenzied clearance scenes in our day, but aside from H&M-style free-for-all events, nothing really compares to Saks' newly expanded behemoth of a shoe floor on a "take 50% off the sale price before 12 Noon" Boxing Day. Confusion, anxiety, craving and impatience all blended in a wintry brew as rapacious customers clamored for overwhelmed salespeople, a scene that would almost make a person prefer to pay more for their shoes of only to avoid the inconvenience and annoyance of shopping in such a manner. Thi s was the scene around 10:30 this morning. We can't imagine that it got much better, epecially considering the abundance of international tourists who insist on shopping with their entire families together at all times.
Not much better were the handbag and accessory shops on the first floor where women were literally loading their arms with whatever they could grab. These are the kinds of crowds we are supposed to (and used to) see the week before Christmas, but now that retailers have trained the public to wait for markdowns, there's no turning back.
Today, The Shophound relaxed our self imposed exile from the most crowded blocks of midtown to see how the stores were doing, and all we can say is that the tourists from foreign lands have basically taken over Fifth Avenue more than ever before, and after sitting out the 25th without being able to shop, they were out in force.
We also noticed some other disturbing developments, most notably that even in the early morning, crowds are lining up just to get into our old favorite bête noire Abercrombie & Fitch. There's really nothing more to say about that other than we can't help wishing we had a pie to throw at each person waiting in that line. Surely their next stop must be the Magnolia Bakery.
We hadn't noticed this earlier, but the giant window posters confirm that the former Mexx store is undergoing renovation to become a giant economy-sized Juicy Couture store, making four boutiques for that label in Manhattan, each larger than the previous one.
Finally, on a disappointing note, British designer Nicole Farhi is calling it quits for her shop on East 60th Street across the street from Barneys. Customers will be directed downtown to 202, her Chelsea Market boutique and café when the shop closes after January 6th. Does this include the closure of Nicole's, the popular restaurant downstairs? Perhaps part of the problem was that despite Farhi's chic collections, the restaurant still got all the buzz. We are betting that a hefty rent increase is playing a major part in this story as well.