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The Shame Of Shopping For Luxury

Even with the economy in deep distress, those in the upper-strata can still afford to shop for the priciest items and labels.

But, reports CBS News correspondent Bianca Solorzano on The Early Show, they don't want to flaunt it while so many others are facing such tough times, so they're spending the big bucks -- on the down-low.

People such as 36-year old Robin Harris, a self-described shopaholic who works in the financial services industry, while still shopping a lot, and only for the best, is trying to avoid a new designer label -- Luxury Shame.

"The simplest definition of luxury shame," says Newsweek Senior Writer Johnnie Roberts, "is an embarrassment of riches. ... Many of them are still shopping. They are closeted conspicuous consumers."

Many who don't want to be seen seeking their designer names are saying goodbye to shopping at fancy retailers, and hello to the Internet, with sites such as Ideeli.com, Solorzano points out.

"It comes to your house in a very discreet way. You could be ordering a book. ... It's a more subtle way to shop without flaunting in everyone's faces," Harris explains.

Many of these covert shoppers are hitting invitation-only sample sales, where you can get expensive goods for low-end prices, Solorzano adds.

Could this "shopping shame" mean the end of the $175 billion dollar global luxury goods market?

"The only unknown," says Newsweek's Roberts, "is whether this is a permanent behavioral change."

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