SOURCE: Luxury Institute

September 17, 2008 11:00 ET

What Brings the Wealthy Out to the Mall? Critical Mass of High-End Retailers, Service Providers, Good Security, According to Luxury Institute Survey

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - September 17, 2008) - Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus can draw a crowd. Two-thirds of wealthy shoppers say that the presence of high-end retailers like these determine where they shop, according to a Luxury Institute survey of U.S. consumers with average household income of $332,000 and average net worth of $3.3 million. The survey questionnaire was developed in cooperation with Cynthia Groves at CC Groves Consulting, LLC.

Smaller service oriented stores play a large role in contributing to overall wealthy shopper satisfaction. Banks (47 percent) and jewelry repair (40 percent) are the most popularly mentioned service businesses that wealthy shoppers want to have in their malls. The youngest, wealthiest, and highest-earning consumers all place particular importance on having each of these types of businesses at a high-end shopping center.

Asked what type of shopping center they prefer to patronize, 27 percent of the wealthy indicated they prefer the mix of indoor and outdoor shopping at a "lifestyle center" with nicely landscaped grounds, park benches, fountains and artwork. Consumers younger than 55 years of age are significantly more likely to flock to lifestyle centers. Twenty-two percent of the wealthy prefer an enclosed mall with major retailers and a luxurious grand court that has hotel lobby style appointments and seating areas.

One essential element at a shopping center is strong security, especially for women. Two-thirds of the wealthy say they feel more comfortable shopping somewhere with publicized security; three-fourths of wealthy women say the same. For specific security features, the top three cited by the wealthy are placement of call-for-aid boxes throughout the center and the parking facility; ability to dial *88 from any pay phone at the mall and connect to security; and electronic signs in parking garages directing shoppers to available parking spaces.

Just 13 percent of the wealthy say they use valet parking frequently at shopping centers, though 27 percent say that they sometimes do. Those from the highest levels of income and net worth are twice as likely as the wealthy overall to use valet parking. Eleven percent use valet services for security while 78 percent do it for the convenience. And even though they're wealthy, two-thirds get their tickets validated at stores most, or all, of the time.

"Especially during this time of economic weakness, luxury retailers need to listen to their customers and create both experiences and physical spaces that allow them to connect better with their customers," says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute.

This latest WealthSurvey, along with 10 new surveys per year, a database of dozens of other consumer surveys, the Wealth Report newsletter, plus select networking with trusted qualified peers, are all available to members of the Luxury Board (www.luxuryboard.com), an online community for luxury professionals who wish to learn how best to serve luxury consumers, for only $995.00 per year. Alternatively, the WealthSurveys and Wealth Report newsletters can be purchased á la carte in the Luxury Institute's Online Store (www.LuxuryInstitute.com).

About the Luxury Institute

The Luxury Institute is the uniquely independent and impartial ratings and research institution that is the trusted and respected voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute provides a portfolio of proprietary publications, research and consulting 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.

Contact Information