Linda Dresner, the legendary Park Avenue boutique, will shutter next month.
While magazines go out with a bang, the city's retail gems - this year's seen the demise of Leontine and Dernier Cri along with others - quietly close their doors in the face of still-skyrocketing rents, invisible shoppers and major department store sales they'd never dream of competing with.
Dresner, who brought the greats - Yamamoto, Demeulemeester, Margiela, Jil Sander, Commes des Garcons - to the Upper East Side more than twenty years ago sums it up best, "There’s too much of everything right now. Would I open a store in New York today? No. Retailing has to be reconsidered. It’s become a commodity that’s less creative. There’s too many stores selling the same kind of merchandise and it’s not as beautifully chosen. It’s ruined the enthusiasm for fashion.”
Basically, the retail market, especially in New York, is totally oversaturated. You try on a pair of jeans in one store and they don't have your size? Skip down the block, and if they don't have them there, you might have to go three whole subway stops to yet another store carrying the same brand. It's as easy to buy a pair of Sevens in this city as it is a grande latte.
Staying alive in this economy will be rough. Small boutiques will have to carry things the big stores don't, whether that means different lines or just a different buy, because they just can't mark things down the way Barneys can. Customers will need incentives - buy this, get that - they'll need motivation and they'll need, most of all, encouragement because even those who have the money to shop right now are terrified.
It won't be easy, it will require patience and creativity and a passionate love of the game, but please, little stores, don't close your doors!