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Most Rated Luxury Brands, 2005

Luxuryinstitute_2Research organization Luxury Institute has published a list of the most prestigious retailers. The brands were rated based on superior quality, uniqueness, a measure of social status, and the ability of each retailer to make customers feel special throughout the entire customer experience. The highest rated retailers were 

  1. Neiman Marcus (score = 65)
  2. Bergdorf Goodman (64)
  3. Nordstrom's (63)

Seven brands were rated: Barney's, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's, Brooks Brothers, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom's, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Macy's was rated separately to measure the difference between mainstream and luxury brands.

The Luxury Institute franchise was built targeting the top 10% of the population that makes at least $270K a year. Meanwhile, local niche publications like Gotham and LA Confidential are going after the very tip of the pyramid, consumers that make $500K a year. Look to research into the luxury consumer to be inclusive of more retail brands as companies like WWD and Vogue build out their database strategy. In some ways this echoes the current war within Morgan Stanley (WSJ subscription required), which  essentially revolves around the question of whether the venerable bank will continue to stay elite or instead cater to the masses.

And maybe there's something more to that: like an investment banker, perhaps tomorrow's luxury brands will be more direct in helping consumers bridge the chasm between their life today and the life they would like to live.

Link: Behind Morgan Stanley Turmoil: Competing Visions of Its Future (WSJ subscription required)

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