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Viva Luxury Retail In Las Vegas

Vegas is heating up – not just from the usual summer heat, but also because its fast-growing luxury retail market is posting higher profits each passing quarter.

A look at the glitzy esplanades of Crystals tells a story of not just a solid high-end luxury business, but of one growing so strong that it’s fueling chaos for retail space among many designer labels.

Celine, Hermes and Bulgari are examples of some of the brands that sell shoulder-to-shoulder at the Crystals, while brands like Christian Dior and Harry Winston sit on a list of 18 brands willing to wait as long as three years to find any empty space, according to Travel Weekly.

But the fight for the right space, of course, has a lot more to do with the top dollars businesses make there. Up north in Vegas, for stores like Chanel at the shopping Esplanades at Wynn and Encore, the average dollar sale is about $8000 — and for watch company Patek Philippe it’s nothing less that $35,000. And consumers aren’t just spending more, but also buying more. Designer boutique stores like Nicholas Kirkwood are seeing average sales of three or four pairs of shoes per customer.

"We’ve never had one month where we did worse than the month before or the year before. Every quarter we have a record quarter,” Crystals Senior Vice President and General Manager Farid Matraki said about post-recession sales in an interview with Travel Weekly.

The ever-busy stores and packed streets today, however, weren’t the same in the times of recession. One would say time almost stood still in the thin barren retail market of the Vegas strip.

"In 2008 it was really, really a tough time,” Matraki said. “We had some brands that were non-luxury chains, and they offered us a decent amount of rent and they offered to rent a decent amount of space. I said, ‘No. Absolutely not.’"

And then the winds of change blew through the Vegas strip as the market picked up. In 2014, the average retail spending among visitors rose to $246.12 from $192.34 in 2010, according to a report by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Travel Weekly reported.

"Luxury is definitely back,” said Hedy Woodrow, senior vice president of retail at the shopping Esplanades at Wynn and Encore. “We’ve had tremendous growth. [In 2014] we actually beat the numbers from pre-recession."

And while this might be happening in Vegas, is this surge in luxury retail there to stay? Matraki thinks so, saying that though there is no more space left for high-end brands in Vegas, there is room for tenants to claim even bigger sales and better numbers.

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