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The Year Ahead

Personal Shopping Goes Mainstream, and Luxury Retailers Rejoice

Saks, Neiman Marcus, and Kay Jewelers are all staffing up for one-on-one customers, whether in-store or online.

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The gatekeepers of luxury retail have long tried to convince customers that personal shopping isn’t just for those who can afford to drop $10,000 on a handbag. After all, they’re more likely to buy something and spend more on that visit, on average, than traditional buyers. Shoppers have resisted for that same reason. Its reputation as a haughty, gilded oasis where you’re handed Champagne and hidden from the commoners, while a stylist pulls a carefully curated set of items for you to try on, hasn’t helped.

“We’ve spent a generation trying to get more people to engage with us on private shopping,” says Marc Metrick, president and chief executive officer of Saks Fifth Avenue.