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Tidings of joy for city retailers

Wall Street hot shots aren't the only ones thrilled by blockbuster bonuses.Retailers, restaurateurs and real estate brokers are all betting fat year-end paychecks will have them rolling in dough, too.

"If it's a good year on Wall Street, it usually means good things for luxury goods and luxury cars," said Ralph Fisher, general manager of Mercedes-Benz Manhattan.

That extra money "gives them confidence," Fisher said.

Bonuses are expected to be well ahead of last year, when the pool shot to a record $21.5 billion, according to a report by state Controller Alan Hevesi.

That bodes well for much of the city - and for City Hall, since the bonuses are all taxable income.

Business execs also were thrilled.

"It's obviously terrific news for all retailers in the city because the Wall Street bonuses are [so] important," said Edward Schmults, CEO of FAO Schwarz. "Does this mean higher-ticket items going out of the store? Does it mean more parties? Sure," he said.

The city's real estate market, which had cooled dramatically this year, tentatively appears to be catching fire again.

Deals started heating up during the week of Thanksgiving in anticipation of bonus payouts, and they're continuing full speed ahead - which is unusual this time of year.

"This is the news we have been waiting for," said Prudential Douglas Elliman broker Jacky Teplitzky.

"Two weeks before Christmas, this is supposed to be the complete dead season, but we are going bananas," she said.



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