News last month that the Republican National Committee spent nearly $50,000 at Saks Fifth Avenue and $75,000 at Neiman Marcus to outfit Gov. Sarah Palin raised plenty of eyebrows. And it garnered plenty of coverage in the waning weeks of the election, turning up in news outlets and blogs across the country. The Associated Press devoted ink to the shopping spree, as did The New York Times and Newsweek. Most major television networks also picked up the story.
Alas, both luxury retailers reported dreary October same-store sales today, despite the gobs of free publicity. Yes, the entire retail industry's performance during the month was shockingly bad, but Gov. Palin's preferred shopping haunts were among the worst in the industry. Neiman Marcus posted a whopping 28% decline, while Saks saw sales plummet 17%.