Is a big f*cking luxury/high-end casino. If they want something luxury/high-end to make money that is.
An article on Boston.com reported on the lack of luxury spending out at the Natick Collection, you can read about it here: Downscaled hopes for an upscale mall
For some reason the article really irritated me. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that lately I have found that most everything I read on Boston.com is either blah or irrelevant, or if it is because I think that the Natick Collection is just about the dumbest idea in retailing ever, or if it is because most of the people quoted in the article sound as though they ought to have their heads shoved up their asses.
Let me just state for the record that everything I know about Natick is based on no better information that the fact that I've only been there about four times in my life, and that I only know about five people who live there. And I hardly visit them because you know what? Natick is f*cking far from Boston.
However even in my limited opinion, it never really struck me that the people who moved to Natick did so to go shopping at high-end luxury retailers. Mostly the people I know who moved there did so to raise families, to be in a suburban commuter community, to be away from the "City". They are people who wear Gap chinos because they are wash and wear - show me one parent out there who sees a "Dry Clean Only" tag and doesn't immediately put the item immediately back on the rack.
So when I first read about the Natick Collection, I wondered who would buy a million-plus apartment at a mall, to then go downstairs and buy a pair of Manolos, and then stroll over to Sel de la Terre for dinner, without ever leaving the mall. Apparently the fancy, diamond-wearing, Chinese food eating woman on the homepage of the Natick Collection website is who. What a ridiculous photo! Who dresses like that - hair, make-up, jewelry - to eat greasy noodles on the floor in the middle of the day? Please.
It would seem to me that the folks who are into that sort of flashy consumerism want to be seen being chauffeured to the Capital Grille and then to the theater and later at the Four Seasons mingling with other spenderati rather than be ogled by the mall set. And in the city you have options. Really the Natick Collection is like a party on a boat - if it sucks, you better suck it up because there is no way out.
And anyway, is a Manolo in a mall, really a Manolo if no one else knows what it is?
The article only covered the high end retailers, although it did make mention that the Gap was pretty busy, as was Macy's. Right there is the DBATSO* phrase of the day - people are not really buying $3000 handbags at the minute. People want H&M, Forever 21, and 9 West - cheap, feel-good purchases, a kind of cotton candy for the soul as the proverbial belt gets cinched ever tighter.
But possibly there is another reason.
The expensive retailers seem to have an unfortunate opinion of the locals, and as everyone knows, if there is one thing New Money cannot stand, it is being talked down to. This is made painfully obvious when Betty Ruiz of Stil said: "It's been quiet. Even if you have money, you may not have taste. We have to educate our customers on style. It's hard. I thought it would be easier in Natick."
Wow, did you hear that you denizens of Natick, you have no taste! You need to be taught!
With an attitude like Betty's, it is no big surprise those luxury & high-end sales are sluggish.
*DBATSO - Don't Be Afraid To State Obvious.