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whnay.

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Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Retail expert Robert Burke could hardly believe the "steals" for men at high-end New York department stores: Loro Piana cashmere coats, Ermenegildo Zegna suits, Salvatore Ferragamo loafers.
"This is an opportunity like no one has ever seen," Burke said. "There will be bargains and deals to be had on men's clothes that shoppers will be able to use for years to come."
Thanks to the global financial crisis, top stores are long on luxury goods, short on free-spending customers. Among the finds were a Loro Piana cashmere overcoat reduced to $2,299 from $3,395, a Longhi deerskin bomber jacket cut to $1,740 from $2,499 and Moncler ski jackets halved to $549 from $1,095.

"This is the one time you should get up and go and spend a few hours in the stores, no matter how painful it is," said Burke, founder of the consulting firm Robert Burke Associates in New York.
Burke went on a treasure hunt with two younger associates this week for great deals in men's fashions, aiming for his three favorite shopping haunts, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York in midtown Manhattan. The three experts also had plenty of advice for shoppers on how to benefit from the discounts.
"Act now: You can buy that blazer without blowing a month's rent," said Kwesi Blair, 27, who wore a brown tweed Ralph Lauren jacket over a purple J. Crew V-neck sweater. The other associate, George Sotelo, 28, appeared in a Calvin Klein pea coat over jeans and $550 Lanvin sneakers.

The sales are slicing 70 percent off a wide range of goods with plenty of choice. Normally shoppers would see 30 percent off selected items in February and March, and then the goods would have been well-picked over, said Burke, 46, sporting a chesterfield overcoat over a dark blue suit, a Prince of Wales plaid tie, and brown lace-ups, which he prefers to wear scuffed.

"˜A Field Day'

Men normally don't enjoy discounts as deep as the ones women get. Because men tend to replenish their "arsenal" of essential clothing, the stores know they usually don't need to mark those items down to sell them, Burke said.
Hitting the stores Tuesday, the trio found parts of them looking like a warehouse, with goods piled on tables and jammed in aisles.
"It's a field day," a Saks saleswoman said.
How long will the sales last?
"Until the economy improves," she joked.
Shoppers who buy designer clothes should get into the stores now because those are the items that get snapped up fast by savvy consumers, Sotelo said. Buyers of more stylistically durable men's apparel will enjoy the best deals in the coming two weeks, Burke said.

Price War

This year, the department stores started marking down goods in September and then got into a price-cutting war, trying to win as much share as they could of the shrinking market. Saks is currently offering 50 percent off the ticketed price, which in some cases amounts to a total of 70 percent off.

The stores' private-label goods are the first to go on sale.
High-end design houses like Jil Sander and Dior refrain the longest, Sotelo said. Hermes generally doesn't discount.
Don't get too "swept up" in the "sales frenzy" and buy only your "first-choice items," Burke advised. Also, don't hold out too long, he said. You may end up empty-handed.
When you see a designer item at 40 percent off, grab it, Sotelo said. It won't hang around long enough for a 70 percent reduction. At Bergdorf Goodman, the Bottega Veneta area already was pretty much down to the dregs.

Put items on hold, and then see if you can find alternatives elsewhere at better prices, Sotelo said. Negotiate, the three men urged. Some shoppers are taking back goods and rebuying them at the new discounted prices, Burke said.

Beyond Brooks Brothers

Men who are usually Brooks Brothers and Paul Stuart customers should explore brands they normally wouldn't consider.
Dolce & Gabbana at Saks, for example, which has some classic suits in pinstripes and other traditional fabrics at deep discounts.
Rummage around, because Bergdorf had Loro Piana coats in several locations in the store, some on sale, some not. Even if price tags don't show markdowns, the merchandise may be on sale, so ask.

Burke said he hasn't seen sales like this in 20 years in the business, more than seven of which he spent at Bergdorf Goodman, lastly as senior vice president of fashion. Before that, he spent
11 years at Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. He founded his eponymous firm in 2005.
The chains already have said they are buying less for spring than they did a year ago.
"I don't think you will ever experience this again," Burke said.

*T
The Finds:

Bergdorf Goodman
--Zegna sheepskin overcoat, $3,299 vs. $5,495.
--Loro Piana cashmere overcoat, $2,299 vs. $3,395.
--Zegna camel-hair overcoat, $1,499 vs. $2,495.
--Hickey Freeman cashmere blazers, $659 vs. $1,095.
--Michael Bastian gingham shirts, $199 vs. $405.
--Charvet shirts and ties, 40 percent off.

Saks Fifth Avenue
--Longhi deerskin bomber jacket, $1,740 vs. $2,499.
--Ralph Lauren Black Label suits, $698 vs. $1,995.
--Dolce & Gabbana suits, $675 vs. $2,250.
--Barbour waxed jackets, $243 vs. $325.
--Tuxedo shirts, $43 vs. $125.

Barneys New York
--Thom Browne suits, $2,275 vs. $3,795.
--Moncler ski jackets, $549 vs. $1,095.
--Acne, Seven, Corpus denim, 40 percent off.
--Ferragamo loafers, $359 vs. $520.
--Tod's chocolate-brown penny loafers, $269 vs. $390.
--Prada sports shoes, $269 vs. $390.
 

TheFoo

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What exactly does a "retail expert" do?
 

spertia

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Those prices are still way too rich for my blood.
 

mishon

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Some people, i.e., Mr. Burke, have lost the concept of what a "real" deal is.
 

Cary Grant

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Originally Posted by mishon
Some people, i.e., Mr. Burke, have lost the concept of what a "real" deal is.

No. Like the high prices or not, 50-60% off retail on items that generally don't get marked down much is a real deal.

Maybe not by your definition but...
 

JoeWoah

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Originally Posted by Cary Grant
No. Like the high prices or not, 50-60% off retail on items that generally don't get marked down much is a real deal.

Maybe not by your definition but...


True, but we can still call him out of touch with 99% of America.
 

MetroStyles

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Yeah these prices are definitely something to sneeze at.
 

edmorel

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Originally Posted by Cary Grant
No. Like the high prices or not, 50-60% off retail on items that generally don't get marked down much is a real deal.

Maybe not by your definition but...


I would not say that these are items that never go on sale, most of these items get big markdowns every season, but the difference of this season is the availability of the items (maybe you typically find 1-2 Zegna coat on sale in a weird size, this season the whole size run is available) and the discounts are going to reach ridiculous levels come end of Dec. beginning January. Much like with stocks, I think there is no rush to buy from a store today, everything will be cheaper shortly.
 

JoeWoah

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Originally Posted by edmorel
I would not say that these are items that never go on sale, most of these items get big markdowns every season, but the difference of this season is the availability of the items (maybe you typically find 1-2 Zegna coat on sale in a weird size, this season the whole size run is available) and the discounts are going to reach ridiculous levels come end of Dec. beginning January. Much like with stocks, I think there is no rush to buy from a store today, everything will be cheaper shortly.

I'm looking forward to that.
 

Doc4

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Originally Posted by JoeWoah
True, but we can still call him out of touch with 99% of America.

True ... but do you want to dress like 99% of America??
 

mishon

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Originally Posted by Cary Grant
No. Like the high prices or not, 50-60% off retail on items that generally don't get marked down much is a real deal.

Maybe not by your definition but...



Why don't you go and take advantage of these marvelous sales and get a few D&G suits for $675 or a Zegna overcoat for $3300. As Ed pointed out, another month or so of patience and the prices should drop again.
 

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