WASHINGTON — The in-town Washington retail scene is in the midst of a rebirth, after being largely overlooked by the new-store boom engulfing its suburbs over the last two decades.

It’s a change in fortunes for the city and its once beleaguered economy, where for decades the availability of fashion retail has failed to match the buying power of its 573,000 residents and 650,000 workday commuters. According to the 2000 Census, the city’s disposable income per household was $33,000. Minus the money spent on food, city residents spent $2.1 billion on retail purchases, including $248 million on women’s apparel and $138 million on men’s clothing.

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