On the brink: Saks sticks with troubled luxury

Saks Inc. (SKS) has long embodied the glitz of American luxury. With its iconic flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and his-and-hers stores across the street from each other on Chicago's swank Magnificent Mile, it's long been one of the landmarks of luxury retail.

But since the recession hit, Saks has come to represent something else. Like many high-end retailers, it's on the brink due to a big pullback in consumer spending that may prove to be less of a symptom of the economic downturn than a characteristic of a new reality -- one that doesn't include $600 shoes.