New York City consumers keep it simple
New York City consumers still spend, but their habits are changing. (Getty)
By Danielle Sonnenberg
Special to amNewYork
When New Yorkers spend money these days, its likely to be on the basics.
Nine months after the city entered the Big Bust, shell-shocked shoppers are still cautious, leaving some of the citys largest stores to cope with a changed consumer landscape.
I think consumers are looking for small luxuries. They are spending on things they wont do without, said Joseph Magnacca, senior vice president and chief merchandising officer of Duane Reade.Food and beverage sales are booming up 20 percent, Magnacca said.
Shoppers are dipping into the frozen foods section to replace dinners out and buying hair-coloring products to avoid the salon, Magnacca said.
Generic brands are also big. Duane Reade noticed the demand and introduced its own bottled water.
I try to buy products that are store brands, they are much cheaper, said Janelle Reid, a Brooklyn teacher.
At DAgostino Supermarkets, shoppers are retrenching.
Consumers are sticking with what they know and having a back-to-the-basics type of mentality, said Anderson Chung, director of marketing at DAgostino.
The organic aisle isnt seeing as much traffic, he said, but demand for seafood, chicken and ground beef is up about 15 percent. Sales of T-bones and filet mignons are down 15 percent.
A recently unemployed DAgostino shopper, Bianca Berry, 26, of Manhattan, was sticking with the staples: pasta, bread, cheese and peanut better.
I revert back to my college days, Berry said.
Simple shopping habits are taking their toll on high-end stores.
At menswear retailer Mario Caldi in midtown, they cant cut prices deep enough to satisfy haggling consumers.
It got a little bit better, but customers are still looking for discounts, said Karma Lama, a salesman.
Paco Underhill, founder of Envirosell, which monitors shopping behavior, says it is no wonder shoppers are buying comfort not luxury.
We are focused on the standard hierarchy of needs: shelter, food and warmth, he said.