SOURCE: Luxury Institute

September 16, 2008 11:00 ET

Luxury Institute European Survey -- Wealthy European Consumers Rate the Most Prestigious Women's Shoes Brands: Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, and Sergio Rossi

PARIS--(Marketwire - September 16, 2008) - Wealthy European consumers rated Christian Louboutin the most prestigious luxury women's shoes brand in the 2009 Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) survey from the independent Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com). The survey was conducted in France, the U.K., Germany and Italy, as a proxy for Europe. Manolo Blahnik and Sergio Rossi rated second and third, respectively.

"Luxury may be down, but the inherent desire to own the best products that money can buy means that luxury will go through down cycles, as it has historically, and then surge higher than before," said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. "The smart luxury brands are now preparing for the next surge by determining what product and service innovations customers will covet, and are testing and learning their way through the cycle. Our new customer experience consulting practice, conducted with Preferred Partners, has seen demand rise dramatically in this downturn."

Following are the 29 luxury women's shoes brands rated by wealthy consumers (alphabetical order):

Bottega Veneta
Burberry
Chanel
Chloe
Christian Louboutin
Dior
Dolce & Gabbana
Fendi
Ferragamo
Gianfranco Ferre
Giorgio Armani
Gucci
Hermes
Hugo Boss
Jimmy Choo
Louis Vuitton
Manolo Blahnik
Marc Jacobs
Michael Kors
Miu Miu
Prada
Ralph Lauren
Sergio Rossi
Stella McCartney
Stuart Weitzman
Tod's
Valentino
Versace
Yves Saint Laurent

The proprietary Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) survey is the only measure of the prestige of leading brands among wealthy Europeans. A sample of 752 wealthy women, 188 each from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy, were surveyed in-depth online about their opinions. Respondents were recruited and screened to only include those age 21 or older with a minimum gross annual income of EUR 60,000 or £70,000.

The LBSI asks respondents to rate the brands along four main "pillars" of brand stature:

--  Consistently superior quality
--  Uniqueness and exclusivity
--  Social status as a product consumed by people who are admired and
    respected
--  Self enhancement, in that the brand makes the consumer "feel special"
    across all aspects of the customer experience
    

In addition, the survey also measures three key "outcome" metrics, which are compared to the category LBSI:

--  Worthiness of a significant price premium
--  Willingness to recommend the brand to people they care about and why,
    or why not
--  Brand preference as the brand most likely to be considered the next
    time a purchase is made
    

About the Luxury Institute

The Luxury Institute is the uniquely independent and impartial ratings, reviews and research institution that is the trusted and respected voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute provides a portfolio of proprietary publications and research that guides and educates high net-worth individuals and the companies that cater to them on leading edge trends, high net-worth consumer rankings and ratings of luxury brands, and best practices. The Luxury Institute also operates the Luxury Board (www.LuxuryBoard.com), the world's first global, membership-based online community for luxury goods and services executives, professionals and entrepreneurs. To reach the Luxury Institute, please call 646-792-2669 or go to www.LuxuryInstitute.com.

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