SOURCE: Luxury Institute, LLC

Luxury Institute, LLC

Luxury Institute, LLC

November 14, 2016 08:00 ET

Luxury Institute Founder, Milton Pedraza, Announces the Launch of the Retail Performance Academy

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - November 14, 2016) - Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute today announced the launch of a new start-up program, the Retail Performance Academy (RPA). The academy's Elite Retail Program (ERP) will bring evidence-based, Ivy-League quality training, coaching and networking to carefully selected students who commit to mastering the high performance, relationship-building skills of retail's top-earning experts. Top-performers in retail can earn anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 within 3-5 years, and top associates who build a client base can earn $200,000+ per year in 5-7 years. A top-tier luxury retail flagship store manager in New York today can earn a package of $250,000, and an average store manager can earn $80,000.

Mr. Pedraza is an innovator who has developed elite training programs that have been documented to help transform thousands of luxury and specialty retail sales associates at all levels of performance into high-ethics, high-earning, high-performers. Pedraza has helped dozens of brands such as Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Intermix and Porsche to dramatically improve performance metrics in a humanistic, measurable way. Retail Performance Academy's core principles are based on learning how to demonstrate product expertise and building lifelong client relationships using the mastery of emotional intelligence-based behaviors and metrics.

The Retail Performance Academy was inspired by three converging trends: First, the U.S. retail industry is a $5 Trillion juggernaut that continues to grow, and the top 20% of sales associates accounts for 80% of sales at top-tier brands. Second, the luxury and specialty retail brands, including apparel, jewelry, watches, automotive, technology, and dozens of other categories, are desperate for, and have open positions for, high-potential, well-trained sales associates they can reward and retain. Third, while a college education is extremely valuable, it is most valuable for the children of the wealthy who go to elite colleges. Sadly, only 52% of middle class and low-income students who enroll in college graduate within 6 years. Most of the rest drop out usually after their freshman year. And of those who graduate college, nearly 44% are underemployed (hold a job that doesn't require a college degree) or unemployed. Many of these young people, even if they graduate, lack the skills that employers need, and, yet, incur massive debt that cripples their future. The Retail Performance Academy's Elite Retail Program provides an alternative to vocational school, college, post-college, or can be used for a career-transition at any age to obtain a high-earning front-line retail sales job. Retail Performance Academy addresses the needs of Millennials and career changers head-on by providing carefully selected students the critical skills that retailers demand, with fast-track job placement, and lifetime access to an exclusive network of alumni and executives at top brands.

Before being accepted, all Retail Performance Academy applicants will undergo a discovery interview process to determine their aptitude, desire and probability of success in retail. Once accepted, students will select their semester of attendance: Spring, Summer, or Fall, with tuition costing an affordable $9,500 for a one-year program that includes 10-weeks, 3 nights per week, plus 9 additional months of coaching and mentoring. The Elite Retail Program curriculum includes online course work, field projects, intense deliberate practice, project presentations, visits with senior executives and front-line experts at top brands, and a final online certification exam. Additionally, students will receive job placement assistance utilizing the Academy's exclusive network of top-tier brands. All students will receive 9-months of group mentoring and coaching to assist them in thriving to reach their true potential. Over time, Retail Performance Academy will provide full, or partial scholarships, at its discretion, to applicants who demonstrate a need.

After nearly 15 years in the luxury industry, navigating from daily executive meetings to call centers and stores, and building the most extensive network of luxury and specialty retail brand executives, Mr. Pedraza realized that while retail is a phenomenal, high-earning career for many people, even the best retail brands consistently fail to select the right people, and train them properly to be expert performers. The costs of high associate turnover and lost client relationships are staggering. The Retail Performance Academy will provide select individuals with great people skills a career opportunity they cannot find elsewhere, elevate the retail profession, create new standards of excellence, and will influence retail brands to better compensate and retain their best performers.

The Retail Performance Academy model was inspired by coding schools, innovative start-up programs for high school graduates and career-changers who can learn how to code in 12-weeks at far below the cost of one-year of college tuition. Retail Performance Academy is similar to coding school, but, instead of serving those who love to code, it is for those who are blessed with great humanistic values and people skills that can be developed for a high performance career in retail. Well-known Fortune editor Geoff Colvin, in his best-selling book "Humans are Underrated" states that as computers replace many high and low-end, technical, rote, monotonous tasks, those people with optimal human relationship building skills will be more valued by employers than those with only technical skills. While experts predict that coding jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence by 2030, high-ethics, high-performance, high-earning client relationship builders in retail and other fields will always be in high demand. According to the 2016 World Economic Forum report on "The Future of Jobs", specialized sales representatives will always be in high demand, second only to data analysts.

For more information, please visit us at or contact Milton Pedraza and his team at or

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