The New York Times reports today on Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus's newfound success with intentionally low inventory. The retailers cut order sizes to manage cash flow and expectation; they then spun this as a "get it or it's gone" angle that has led to full sell-through on numerous high-ticket items.
Scarcity as a luxury concept is not new, of course; just days ago the Economist reported on Jean-Claude Biver's success selling watches in the same manner. (Story headline: "Salesman of the irrational.") The retail industry will be watching closely whether this trend holds through Christmas, and if Saks and Neiman can lead a sea change away from deep discounting as the recession starts to ebb.