The Unity Marketing Luxury Consumption Index dropped 9.1 points at the close of the first quarter of 2008, according to the Stevens, Pa.–based market research firm. “The LCI started to measure flagging consumer confidence among the affluent about a year ago at the end of March, but their spending on luxury didn't begin to retreat until a little later in the year,” says Pamela Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and the author of Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience. Danziger expects spending among luxury consumers to remain conservative for the next few months, at least until after the fall presidential election, when new leadership may provide an emotional lift. The first-quarter drop comes on the heels of a 23.8 point drop at the end of the fourth quarter of 2007. But Thomas Bodenberg, Unity Marketing's economic forecaster,

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