A recent survey of 30 major shopping strips around the world ranked Fifth Avenue near the bottom of the list. The survey, conducted by mystery shoppers, evaluated around 400 stores on three controllable criteria: appearance, customer service, and atmosphere. Then they threw in "behavior of passersby," which initially seems a little unfair but makes much more sense once you consider in terms of whether Fifth Avenue's Abercrombie should be held accountable for all those tourists lined up outside.
Fifth Avenue wound up ranking 26th, placing it even lower than that famous bastion of retail snobbery, Paris's Avenue des Champes-Elysées. Which is pretty tragic, given that the survey also revealed that nearly half of the Champes-Elysées store clerks displayed obvious irritation at having to—quelle horreur—help customers.
· Mystery Shoppers Give Paris Stores a Poor Score [WWD, subscription req'd]