Luxury stores feel pain as clients tighten belts

NEW YORK - The rich are tightening their belts, too. Even though some are still buying Gucci. Faced with a recession and a major downturn in the stock market that together have brought the sharpest decline in net worth in nearly 50 years, wealthy Americans are reevaluating their priorities. They are slashing their spending at a rate unseen in decades - a move that could have dire consequences for the economy, luxury stores, and high-end brands.

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