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Luxury Shoppers Are Back -- and at Full Price: Saks CEO

By Margo D. Beller, Special to

NEW YORK ( CNBC) -- Internet shopping gave a boost to Saks' earnings Tuesday and CEO Steve Sadove told CNBC he's encouraged because the luxury shopper appears to be back.

Saks (SKS)reported a higher quarterly profit, thanks to a 20 percent increase in online sales.

The online component is "forcing us to put into place technologies and systems" like never before because "we have to be able to move inventory around among channels," he said.

" W e have to operate totally differently than we have in the past," Sadove said. "A lot of the investment is behind the scenes."

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But it's worth it because the "luxury consumer is back shopping -- not quite at pre-recession levels -- but they're buying very much at full price," Sadove said.

The fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average touched 13,000 Tuesday "is an indication of how consumers are feeling" about the U.S. economy, he said. That's good news for Saks because its financial health is tied more to how the financial markets are doing than the unemployment rate or the price of gasoline, Sadove said. "We're optimistic about 2012."

--Written by Margo D. Beller at CNBC.

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