DALLAS - With stock markets sinking and fear of recession rising, what's the affluent consumer to do? Neiman Marcus hopes a few of them will escape the grim headlines by splurging on diamonds, Dior and other diversions.

The luxury retailer unveiled its Christmas Book on Tuesday and made surprisingly few concessions to the financial crisis running from Wall Street to Main Street.

You can be the first on your block to own a limited-edition BMW sedan, a backyard golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus or a collection of every top 100 record from 1955 to 1990.

"I think we all need a break," said Ginger Reeder, a Neiman vice president. "These gifts are not meant to be anything more than something to make you smile, make you go 'Oh my gosh, who would have thought about that?'"

Reeder said Neiman's wealthy customers aren't much affected by the economy, but that so-called aspirational shoppers — more middle-income yet yearning for touches of luxury — may shop less often and buy fewer items.

read more