LAS VEGAS — A long winning streak could be ending for retailers here, marking a new phase in the city’s evolution.
Reduced discretionary spending — the foundation of the entertainment, gambling and shopping mecca — is causing pain from the cash registers to the casinos with no quick end in sight. “We’ve certainly revised our sales forecast for the coming year; we don’t want to overestimate anything now,” said Robert Chavez, chief executive officer of Hermès USA, which recently opened its second Las Vegas boutique in the Encore at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel-casino. The area’s retail vacancy and jobless rates have almost doubled in the last year, and gaming revenue, tourism and convention business are spiraling downward. In addition, Las Vegas has the nation’s highest foreclosure rate for metro areas with a population of at least 200,000, according to RealtyTrac, which compiles the listings. Unemployment rose to 10.1 percent in February, compared with 5.5 percent in the same year-ago period, and casino magnate Steve Wynn slashed employee salaries 10 percent to 15 percent. Major projects such as CityCenter, a joint venture of MGM Mirage and Dubai World that includes hotels, gaming and condominiums, as well as retail, are being cut back or delayed. MGM Mirage, the largest casino owner on the famed Strip, is trying to avoid default and other casino operators, including Harrah’s Entertainment and Las Vegas Sands, are struggling to meet debt obligations. General Growth Properties Inc., which owns and manages more than 200 U.S. malls, including Las Vegas’ Fashion Show, Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian and The Shoppes at The Palazzo, said Monday it is continuing talks with lenders to restructure billions of dollars in debt. General Growth is seeking to sell the Las Vegas properties, but with real estate credit tight and spending weak unloading them may be a longshot. Mall landlords are reexamining their tenant rosters to be recession-appropriate. The Forum Shops at Caesars, which has set the standard for high-end retailing in Las Vegas, is now more interested in signing a casual eatery than a fine-dining restaurant because of the strained economic climate, said Maureen Crampton, director of marketing. “The shopper is more conservative today, definitely, and they have been for quite some time,” she said. “We have to be realistic. We can’t set our expectations so high. This is not 9/11. People after 9/11 came to get away. It didn’t hit their pocketbook.” Welcome to the Las Vegas where cheap buffets, half-price hotel rooms, steep store discounts, budget-friendly shows and slots are among the main attractions, while luxury brands that have catered to high rollers play second banana. In the last 15 years, Las Vegas morphed from its roots as a gambling oasis into a luxury destination with world-class shopping, spas, restaurants and other attractions. After more than a decade of riding high, the economic turmoil has stripped away some of the city’s extravagant allure.
“I grew up in New York but I hadn’t really experienced the city in any type of touristy way…This was probably the first museum I really explored and took the time to see,” said @haileybaldwin of the @whitneymuseum. On Tuesday night, Baldwin was joined by Jemima Kirke and more at the annual Whitney Museum Gala and Studio Party, which honored Lorna Simpson, Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo and Beth Rudin DeWoody. See more photos on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
Displayed starting this week at the @fashiontextilemuseum: An exhibition on designer @orlakiely titled “Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern,” which spans two decades and contains more than 150 pieces. “I want people to come away loving pattern and print. It’s something that makes you feel so good,” said the designer during a preview of the exhibit. Also on show are mood boards, samples, sketches and more. Head to WWD.com to see more photos. #wwdfashion
Exclusive: @dsquared2 signs fragrance licensing agreement with Euroitalia, with the first effort of the new partnership being unveiled in September. The brand will launch two scents – one for men and one for women – in Italy. Read our interview with designer Dean and Dan Caten on WWD.com. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@louisvuitton has officially renewed Nicolas Ghesquière’s contract as artistic director of women's collections. "I am very pleased to open the next chapter of the story I started with Louis Vuitton almost 5 years ago," said Ghesquière, who first signed on to design the French luxury brand's women's line in 2013. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
“I learned then and there that I had to figure out a way in life to maintain and preserve my sense of pride when I felt good about what I did or what I represented or created,” said @saintrecords on how being bullied for wearing capri pants inspired her to be the artist she is today. Knowles was at the 70th Parsons Benefit last night where she outbid the room for a Dapper Dan customized @gucci experience. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
“There’s this amazing braintrust of people who know the whole universe so well. So we talked to them and they gave us more input,” said actor Alden Ehrenreich on playing the young Han Solo in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” The cast was at NYC’s SVA Theatre last night for an advanced screening of the film, which hits theaters this week. #wwdeye #starwars #hansolo (📷: @aurorarosedecrosta)
@asaprocky spent nearly two hours in a Plexiglas box Sunday night at @sothebys putting himself through a series of “tests” to demonstrate the process of completing his new album called “Testing.” Get all the details and see all the pictures on WWD.com. #wwdeye
“I’ve struggled my whole life to find a bathing suit that fits me that doesn’t look like a maternity bra. I’m proud of the line because it’s an accurate representation of me rather than me putting on someone else’s clothes,” says @atlantabean of her swimwear collaboration with @piaarrobio, LPA X ATL. The two decided on a swimwear collab and increased the industry standard size for the pieces. Read more about the line — and our interview with de Cadenet Taylor and Arrobio — on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Dan Doperalski)