In a recession likely to inflict historic pain across the retail landscape, no shopping district will suffer more than Chicago's most famous boulevard.
Michigan Avenue, with its upscale department stores and sky-high rents, faces a darker gloom than local counterparts because of its dependence on tourists and big-ticket shoppers -- both of whom will be cutting back more than they have in any recent recession.
Over the holidays, sales at Magnificent Mile shops could fall as much as 5% from last season, according to Chicago-based D&R Consulting. That's on the high end of the 3% to 5% sales drop D&R is predicting for the wider Chicago area. In October, traffic at Michigan Avenue shops dropped 5.7% from the year before, according to ShopperTrak RCT Corp.