Consumers are slow to spend on luxury goods

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The wealthy may be spending again, but they aren't opening their wallets as willingly as they once did.

Business is creeping back for hotels, yacht rental companies, jet brokers and jewelry stores - purveyors of the luxury goods that once seemed immune to a downturn, but then took a hit with the recession, according to an article in The New York Times.

Some experts say much of the high-end spending before the recession was fueled by money borrowed by people trying to live beyond their means. Today there is a trend to reducing risk by cutting debt.

At Sabre Yachts in South Casco, Maine, a good year once meant building and selling about 180 luxury sailboats and powerboats priced from $400,000 to $1.5 million. Last year, sales sank to well below 100, Daniel Zilkha, who has owned the company for 15 years, told the newspaper.

"This was by far the worst downturn since the luxury tax nearly wiped out the boatbuilders in the very early 1990s," Zilkha said. "Business is picking up relatively slowly, but it feels as if the recovery has substance."

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