Aspen retailers woo shoppers with deals
December 20, 2008
ASPEN ” What’s on sale in Aspen? It would be easier to list what isn’t.
Pre-holiday discounts, weekend blowouts and two-for-one offers more typical of suburban shopping malls than swanky ski resorts are beckoning Aspen shoppers this season, as retailers combat a sluggish economy with good, old-fashioned pre-Christmas sales.
At a time when shoppers would typically pay the price to shop in Aspen, Boogie’s ran a well-publicized, pre-holiday sale ” 30 percent off everything in the diner’s street-level clothing store ” for the first time ever. The place was bustling Thursday ” the final day for the deals.
Down the street, P.E. 101, a longtime women’s clothing retailer, was advertising discounts of 20 percent. The sign in the tiny shop’s window said it all, announcing the “Economy Kiss My Butt Sale.”
Pitkin County Dry Goods, a clothing retailer in Aspen for 40 years, was offering 30 percent off all clothing and 20 percent off accessories and leather goods. The pre-Christmas sale is unprecedented, owner David Fleisher said.
“We’ve never done it. We only run two sales a year ” at the end of January and the middle of July,” he said. “This is a pretty unique circumstance.”
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“I think every longtime Aspen retailer is definitely going to be looking at creativity this year,” agreed Heather Isberian, who has run Isberian Rug Co. with her husband, Stephan, for 41 years.
Isberian has marked down select rugs by 70 percent and the rest of the store’s inventory is marked down 20 to 40 percent. The sale will continue indefinitely, Stephan said.
At local outdoor gear shop Ute Mountaineer, 30 percent off Croc Mammoths ” a fleece-lined variety of the popular clogs ” definitely is not business as usual, said Loren Gwartney-Gibbs, floor manager. The shop also has offered deals on items such as socks (buy one pair, get a second for half off) and base layers, but has resisted a storewide slashing of prices.
“It’s not huge. It’s just to try to get people interested ” to walk in the door,” Gwartney-Gibbs said.
And the sales aren’t limited to locally owned shops like the Ute, or Radio boardshop, which has published a series of coupons good for a host of deals through Dec. 31. Chain stores like Billabong, Quiksilver and The Gap have gotten in on the act, as have Aspen’s high-end boutiques.
The “sale” sign in the window is decidedly inconspicuous, but Fendi has marked down select items by 60 percent.
At Burberry, the trademark trench coat, which never goes on sale, is on sale ” 30 percent off, said Janice Schmid, assistant manager.
Some shopkeepers planned to end the discounts by Monday, when they’re anticipating the influx of Aspen’s holiday tourists, but others said the deals will continue.