Published December 20, 2013
Turns out, people are flocking to Las Vegas for more than just the slots and gambling tables. In fact, some visitors are spending three times more money in places outside of the casino floor, according to University of Las Vegas economist Stephen Brown.
"We are seeing a much greater presence of luxury stores here in Las Vegas and most of them are catering to tourists."
The increased tourism is good news for the local economy.
"People think of it just for gambling, but I come here to shop," says celebrity stylist and host of TV show “Fashion Police” George Kostiopoulos. "I don't gamble."
Sin City is known to attract high rollers spending thousands of dollars in a night in a casino, and that big-spending mentality is spilling out to the streets, as the city is quickly becoming a mecca for luxury retailers.
"Almost all the major shopping centers here carry the name brands in the world of luxury, the highest name brands," said Swatch Group President Frank Furlan.
More than 50 high-end labels opened stores in Las Vegas in the past four years. Louis Vuitton alone has six different shops on the strip.
The Swatch group has seven shops in Vegas, one of which is its largest and highest grossing in the country.
Swatch carries watches priced at up to $750,000 and outsells similar stores on 5th Avenue in New York City and Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles.
The increase in luxury sales is attributed to a growing number of five-star hotels and restaurants in Las Vegas, making it an attractive destination for high net worth individuals.
"If I'm going to throw my money away, I'd rather throw it away at Dolce and Gabanna or Louie Vuitton," Kostiopoulos says.
The influx of luxury retail has helped revive the city’s economy, which took a hit during the 2008 financial crisis when real estate prices in the area got hammered.
Consumer spending hit $24.6 billion in the first nine months of 2013, in Vegas, according. Nearly a 5% increase from the same time in 2012.
"We only wish they would spend even more money and propel our economy to faster growth," said Brown.