The Credit Crunch has arrived in Beverly Hills

BEVERLY HILLS – For the first time in many years, shops on swanky Rodeo Drive advertise discounts up to 80 percent while others are quietly going out of business. Established fashion brands such as Lisa Kline and Rock & Republic are looking for retailers to take over their expensive leases. And jittery sales assistants confide that at least two luxury brand boutiques have handed out pink slips in recent months.

Business is ultraslow, also caused by the absence of many well-heeled tourists. To the general public, the consequences of the worldwide recession seem relative: hair stylist Katie Ittner who works in a high-end salon on Robertson Boulevard, said she had a client who called in tears because she could no longer afford to spend 190 euro to get her hair colored and had no idea how to do the job herself.

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