Vacant stores along 5th Avenue dressed for holidays

NEW YORK -- Some vacant stores along New York City's luxury shopping corridor will be dressed for Christmas as if retailers like Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren had never left.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a merchants' association has installed nostalgic holiday window displays in four vacant stores along Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan.

Jerome Barth of the Fifth Avenue Association says the group wants shoppers strolling between Central Park and Rockefeller Center to see an uninterrupted stretch of holiday cheer.

Tourists crowd the avenue every holiday season to see the elaborate decorations at stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Cartier.

But New York City has seen an increase in vacant storefronts in recent years. The city comptroller's office says the retail vacancy rate climbed to 5.8% in 2017 from 4% in 2007.

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