Wall Street Bonus Season: Retailers Ask, How Big?

Within the next four weeks, the twitter about Wall Street bonuses will reach fever pitch. Will the bonus total beat last year’s record of $23.9 billion? How much of the bonuses will be spent on real estate? How much will the new Tiffany’s on Wall Street get?

But, most of all, how much will each Wall Streeter get?

We got a hold of stats from the state Comptroller’s office, which tracks the Wall Street bonuses every winter. Last year, the average bonus per Wall Streeter was a record $137,580. In 2005, it was a then-record $119,390. In fact, the average individual bonus in 2006 was 10 times the average 20 years earlier, in 1985, of $13,970.

And isn’t that what matters to retailers, be they real estate brokers or salesmen at the financial district BMW dealership?

They want a swaggering Wall Streeter to come waltzing in with a bulging bank account of at least six figures. After all, take the average sales price of a Manhattan apartment: roughly $1.3 million. A 10 percent down payment for that would be $130,000 or thereabouts, plus closing costs. (And that’s if the apartment sellers take a 10 percent down payment.)

If the bonuses aren’t hefty this year–if the economic jitters of the past few months take their toll–it could be a very lonely winter for our city’s higher-end retailers.

They might want to learn Arabic, French or even Canadian.