“Carriage trade” means business with wealthy customers (such as those who arrive in expensive carriages). The term “carriage trade” has been cited in print since at least this description in The Saturday Evening Post in July 1907:
“Retail distribution is to-day separating into two distinct groups—high-class trade and popular trade. One caters to the classes, and the other to the masses. One is known as ‘carriage trade,’ while the other has been wittily dubbed the ‘baby-carriage trade.’”
Wiktionary: carriage trade
carriage trade (uncountable)
1. Retail business with wealthy or upper-class customers, i.e. those who arrive in carriages
2. Wealthy or upper-class people in general
(Oxford English Dictionary)
carriage trade n. (a) the trade of conveyance, carrying-trade; (b) trade or custom from those who use carriages, i.e. from the wealthy (Webster 1909); transf. (colloq.), wealthy people collectively.
1719 in T. Gordon Cordial Low-spirits (1750) 274 These advantages..will give us all the carriage trade of the Mediterranean.
1958 Spectator 25 July 136/3 For the carriage trade there is still polished mahogany.
OCLC WorldCat record
Considerations on the nurseries for British seamen : the present state of the Levant and carriage-trade in the Mediterranean; and the comparative, military, naval, and commercial powers of the Barbary States.
Publisher: London?, 1766.
Edition/Format: eBook : English
6 June 1907, The Saturday Evening Post, “Limiting Opportunity; The Way of the Retailer” by James H. Collins, pg. 7, col. 3:
Retail distribution is to-day separating into two distinct groups—high-class trade and popular trade. One caters to the classes, and the other to the masses. One is known as “carriage trade,” while the other has been wittily dubbed the “baby-carriage trade.”
October 1910, McClure’s Magazine, “Workings-Girls’ Budgets” by Sue Ainslie Clark and Edith Wyatt, pg. 609, cols. 1-2:
The fortunes, talents, tastes, eager human effort spent in shop- window displays on Fifth Avenue, the shimmer and sparkle of beautiful silks and jewels, the prestige of “carriage trade,” the distinction of presence of some of the customers and their wealth and their freedom in buying—all the wordliness of the most moneyed city in the United States here perpetually passes before the eyes of Zettas in their 1.20 muslin waists so carefully scrubbed the night before, and of Alices who have had breakfasts for 10 cents.
OCLC WOrldCat record
Author: Stephen Birmingham
Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, 1993.
Edition/Format: Book : Fiction : English
New York retailing tycoon Silas Tarkington’s death brings out secrets about himself and his family.
Los Angeles (CA) Times
BOOK REVIEW: Half-Baked Mystery of the Upper Crust: CARRIAGE TRADE, by Stephen Birmingham; Bantam; $21.95, 480 pages
August 04, 1993|JONATHAN KIRSCH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
When it comes to the folkways of the rich, the powerful, and the privileged, Stephen Birmingham knows what he’s talking about. He has chronicled what passes for the American aristocracy in a couple of dozen books (“Our Crowd,” “California Rich,” “Life at the Dakota”). And his latest novel, “Carriage Trade,” is set in the same glitzy neighborhood.
“Carriage Trade” is the story of Tarkington’s, a fictional Fifth Avenue department store whose founder, Silas Tarkington, is found dead under suspicious circumstances in the swimming pool of his country estate.
New York City • Banking/Finance/Insurance • Wednesday, April 03, 2013 • Permalink