Wall Street Bonus Cuts: Luxury Stores Brace for Impact

Bonuses across the financial industry are taking a knock this year, and many one-percenters are finding themselves in awkward financial situations.

"People who don't have money don't understand the stress," explains Alan Dlugash, a partner at accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron LLP in New York in an interview with Bloomberg. "Could you imagine what it's like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?"

Because of the drop in revenues from investment banking and trading, Wall Street's cash bonus pool fell 14% to $19.9 billion -- the greatest decrease since 2008. For the last two years, total bonuses have averaged $22 billion.

The average bonus fell nearly $18,000 to $121,000, reports CNNMoney. "This estimate tracks cash payments and doesn't include stock options or other forms of deferred compensation that haven't been realized."

"It's a disaster," said Ilana Weinstein, chief executive officer of New York-based search firm IDW Group LLC. "The entire construct of compensation has changed." (via Bloomberg)

High-income earners are not used to taking a cut and don't typically save for rainy days. When their salaries are slashed, they "feel stuck." And high earners typically live expensive lifestyles that include second homes, fancy vacations, high-wage nannies, dog walkers, and expensive brownstones. A lower income therefore requires greater cutbacks, and Wall Street workers are concerned over how best to maintain the lifestyle they and their families have come to expect.

High-end retailers should brace for impact
Alan Dlugash (an accountant) is spending more time with his Wall Street clients to discuss their expenses. He'll tell them: "You don't necessarily have to cut that -- but if you don't cut that, then you've got to cut this.' They say, 'But I can't.' And I say, 'But you must.'"

It's very likely the cutbacks on Wall Street will be felt most by the luxury markets. As a point of fact, nearly 30% of the U.S luxury markets revenues come from New York City, and most of that from Wall Street.

Business section: Investing ideas
When it comes down to it, Wall Street is a driver of demand in New York City's luxury market, from luxury cars and private jets to high-end restaurants and jewelry companies. If Wall Street suffers, the spillover can be quite overwhelming. Naturally, waves of layoffs and the anticipation of pay cuts can easily rattle the industry's earning expectations.

We decided to take a look at some of the luxury companies trading on the U.S. stock exchanges that have a significant exposure to economic trends in New York City.

Do you think any of these companies are in for trouble? (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

1. Coach (NYSE: COH  ) : Engages in the design and marketing of accessories and gifts for men and women in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $21.54B.

2. Estee Lauder Companies (NYSE: EL  ) : Engages in the manufacture, marketing, and sale of skin care, makeup, fragrance, and hair care products worldwide. Market cap of $22.70B

3. Michael Kors Holdings: Engages in the design, marketing, distribution, and retail of branded women's apparel and accessories, and men's apparel. Market cap of $8.26B

4. Lululemon Athletica (Nasdaq: LULU  ) : Engages in the design, manufacture, and distribution of athletic apparel and accessories for women, men, and female youth primarily in Canada, the United States, and Australia. Market cap of $9.61B

5. Ralph Lauren: Engages in the design, marketing, and distribution of lifestyle products. Market cap of $16.04B

6. Saks Incorporated (NYSE: SKS  ) : Operates fashion retail stores in the United States. Market cap of $1.86B.

7. Tiffany: Engages in the design, manufacture, and retail of fine jewelry worldwide. Market cap of $8.25B.

8. True Religion Apparel (Nasdaq: TRLG  ) : Designs, develops, manufactures, markets, distributes, and sells apparel in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, and South America. Market cap of $672.17M.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.


Kapitall's Rebecca Lipman does not own any of the shares mentioned above.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Coach and lululemon athletica. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of lululemon athletica and Coach. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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