Luxury Institute News

October 14, 2014

WEALTHY AMERICANS RANK PREMIUM WINES, DIVULGE SPENDING AND DRINKING HABITS IN NEW LUXURY INSTITUTE SURVEY

Market Wired

NEW YORK, NY — (Marketwired) — 10/14/14 — More than two-thirds (70%) of wealthy U.S. consumers, under the age of 50, drink wine at least once a month, and they’re willing to pay premium prices for preferred vintages — an average of $48 per bottle at retail and $64 at a restaurant. These are among findings of the New York-based Luxury Institute’s just released Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) premium wines survey.

Consumers 21 and older from households with income of at least $150,000 a year evaluated 20 premium domestic wine brands on the degree to which each embodies the four “pillars” of brand value: superior quality, exclusivity, enhanced social status and an overall superior consumption experience. Respondents also reveal which wines are worth paying premium prices, which they would recommend to people close to them, and which brand they will buy next.

Based on overall 1-10 LBSI scores, Ghost Pines (7.65) earns top honors, and it ranks the highest on all four pillars of value. Known for California winemaker Michael Eddy’s multi-appellation blends of grapes from Napa, Sonoma, Monterey and San Joaquin counties, Ghost Pines is also the brand consumers deem most worthy of a price premium, even though many of its bottles sell for less than $20.

Other highly ranked premium domestic brands include Mount Veeder (7.39), Meiomi (7.30), Bridlewood (7.16) and Edna Valley (6.90).

“Winemaking is the quintessential luxury business in many ways,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “Brand value begins with the best-quality raw materials and grows with fine craftsmanship and a relentless focus on execution and consistently delighting customers.”

Contact the Luxury Institute for more details and complete survey data.

Visit us at www.LuxuryInstitute.com and contact us with any questions or for more information.

The Luxury Institute, LLC
luxinfo@luxuryinstitute.com

Source:

http://www.einnews.com/pr_news/229093149/wealthy-americans-rank-premium-wines-divulge-spending-and-drinking-habits-in-new-luxury-institute-survey

October 4, 2014

Williams-Sonoma returns home to celebrate heritage

SFGate
Janet Fletcher
October 4, 2014

The store that introduced America to food processors and copper fish pans has returned to its Wine Country roots.

For many decades, Williams-Sonoma thrived by being one step ahead of its customers, selling them housewares they didn’t yet know they needed. But with this weekend’s opening of its newest venue, in Sonoma, the trendsetting company is looking back to celebrate its 99-year-old founder and recall its humble debut.

The project also reflects the Boomer-fueled brand’s efforts to woo a younger generation — Millennials, who aren’t exactly rushing to buy homes and stock kitchens.

This retro Williams-Sonoma, at the site of the original store, re-creates the look of the shop that Chuck Williams opened in 1956, down to the black-and-white checkerboard floor. “It’s going to be a total doppelganger,” said Wade Bentson, one of Williams’ first employees, who helped with its design.

With a 12-seat cooking school showcasing local talent, an edible garden, vintage merchandise and museum-style kitchenware exhibit, the store is opening in a town famously hostile to chains. But the billion-dollar retailer, for the most part, is being welcomed like a hometown hero.

“I’m totally excited about it,” said Sheana Davis, a community activist and proprietor of Epicurean Connection, a nearby cafe and cheese shop. “If you’re looking for opposition, I’m not it.”

Williams, who celebrated his 99th birthday this week, operated his store near the historic plaza for only two years before decamping to San Francisco. But his later success made Sonoma itself an international brand.

Visitors still inquire about the chain’s birthplace. “I’ve been introduced as his son several times,” said Steven Havlek, who owns Sign of the Bear, an independent kitchenware store on the plaza.

Re-creating the original

When the site at 605 Broadway became available in 2012, the retailer swooped in. The property included both Williams’ original 570-square-foot shop and an attached home and garden that he had shared with his mother.

“We found enough pictures and enough from (Williams) to rebuild the store exactly as it was,” said Janet Hayes, president of the Williams-Sonoma brand. The restoration includes original signage and the clean-lined open white shelving that became the stores’ trademark.

The new Sonoma store includes an exhibit of ingredients and tools that Williams popularized, such as Fini balsamic vinegar, Maldon sea salt, Le Creuset cookware and French mandolines. Williams’ restored home, attached to the store, has been repurposed as a design studio and showcase for Williams-Sonoma Home furnishings. The store is not all retro; the made-over garden boasts an outdoor kitchen with pizza oven and lots of merchandise from the company’s new Agrarian line, launched in 2012 in keeping with a younger generation’s fascination with urban farming.

The DIY cheese-making kits and high-end chicken coops that Williams-Sonoma is betting on today were definitely not in the mix when Williams began his retailing career. The society matrons who patronized Williams-Sonoma in the late 1950s were lured by the gleaming copper saucepans, Pillivuyt porcelain and fluted tart tins that Williams discovered in France. Jackie Kennedy and Julia Child were about to make French cuisine the epitome of chic, and Williams was poised to profit.

Cooking to entertaining

Urged by his affluent customers to move the shop to San Francisco, Williams listened when one of them suggested a spot near Elizabeth Arden, the high-end salon on Sutter Street. “In those days, women had beehive hair that required a lot of attention,” recalled Bentson, who began working for the store in 1961. “It wasn’t unusual for them to go to Arden’s two or three times a week, and they went right by our store.”

Women from Hillsborough, Piedmont and Marin would have their ball gowns shipped to Williams-Sonoma, drop their dogs off at the store, and then go and have their hair done, recalled Mary Risley, who founded Tante Marie’s Cooking School in San Francisco and is a longtime friend of Williams’. They bought Christmas presents and wedding gifts at Williams-Sonoma, especially after the merchant — again nudged by a customer — created a bridal registry to compete withGumps and Tiffany.

Child’s popular television show, which debuted in 1963, also fueled Williams-Sonoma’s sales. If Julia used it, “people beat the way to our store to get it,” Bentson said. San Francisco cooking teachers like Risley andJoyce Goldstein sent their students to the store for quiche pans, flan rings and souffle dishes — equipment that department stores of the day did not stock.

“Everybody was either taking cooking lessons or giving cooking lessons,” recalledJacqueline Mallorca, an early customer and ad agency employee who persuaded Williams that the store needed a mail-order catalog. Begun in 1972 and, for years, written by Mallorca, the innovative full-color mailer put Williams’ finds and favorite recipes within reach of all Americans.

Today, the recipes have migrated to the company’s website, and the catalog copy is far more clipped and concise. The September issue still includes Le Creuset and All-Cladcookware but also features packaged mixes for Bundt cakes, quick breads, waffles and breakfast bars — a shift noted unhappily by the culinary doyennes of San Francisco.

“There’s an awful lot of tableware,” sniffed Mallorca, an Englishwoman whose polished manners don’t conceal her dismay. “People today are not so interested in cooking as much as entertaining.”

Positioning for future

Goldstein, who later collaborated with Williams on several cookbooks, concurred. “At some point, Williams-Sonoma made the shift from being an educating store to being a lifestyle store, with tablecloths, napkins and pottery,” she said.

The publicly traded company’s other concepts — among them, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and West Elm — are thriving, but the net revenue of the Williams-Sonoma brand has been stagnant in recent years and the store count is down. Branding experts and trend forecasters see both opportunities and challenges for the chain as it positions itself for the future.

Many affluent young consumers aren’t hurrying to buy homes, they say, and are more inclined to spend on experiences than on stuff.

“I’ve been invited to buy wedding gifts at experiential websites,” said Kara Nielsen, culinary director for Sterling-Rice Group, an advertising and branding agency in Boulder, Colo. Nielsen and others also point to a minimalist trend, a preference for smaller, less cluttered homes and simpler lives.

“A lot of Millennials believe in access but not ownership,” Nielsen said, pointing to the success of businesses that enable consumers to share cars or rent special-occasion clothes.

Building in diversity

Like other retailers, Williams-Sonoma needs to respond to changing demographics, marketing experts say. “Diversity has to be built into their product range and into their staff,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, a consultant to high-end brands. Pedraza points to his own multicultural family, which includes Colombians, a Jewish lawyer from Long Island and a Hindu doctor.

“We make samosas for Thanksgiving with turducken and Spanish rice,” he said. “And we’re not atypical.”

Marc Halperin, a food and beverage consultant with San Francisco’s Center for Culinary Development, believes the chain is still a tastemaker and sharp observer of trends. The Agrarian line dovetails neatly with the urban homesteading wave, Halperin said. And the shift toward offering tableware, juicers and other appliances that have little to do with cooking may also be wise.

“There’s clearly a huge understanding of the consumer,” Halperin said. “The number and variety of espresso machines they’re selling is mind-boggling.”

Janet Fletcher is a food writer and cookbook author in Napa. E-mail:home@sfchronicle.com

Company milestones

1956: First Williams-Sonoma store opens on Broadway in Sonoma.

1958: Chuck Williams moves his thriving cookware store to Sutter Street in San Francisco.

1972: Williams-Sonoma mails its first cookware catalog, with a print run of 10,000.

1973: Williams-Sonoma opens its second store, in Beverly Hills. Chuck Williams introduces the Cuisinart food processor, a revolutionary French appliance.

1978: Chuck Williams encounters balsamic vinegar in Italy and begins to import it.

1983: With its initial public offering, Williams-Sonoma becomes a publicly traded company to raise money for expansion.

1986: Williams-Sonoma releases its first cookbook, starting a hugely successful publishing program.

1999: Williams-Sonoma starts its e-commerce site.

2006: Debut of Williams-Sonoma Home, a furniture and home decor collection

2012: Williams-Sonoma starts Agrarian, a line of products designed for urban homesteaders.

2014: Williams-Sonoma opens its240th store in Sonoma, at the site of the original store.

Source: http://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/article/Williams-Sonoma-returns-home-to-celebrate-heritage-5800000.php

October 1, 2014

Exclusive: Wealthy Consumer Survey 2014

Previews Inside Out
Coldwell Banker
October 1, 2014

You may picture wealthy Gen Y and Millenials as iPad-toting jetsetters who aren’t anxious to tie up their cash in a home. But they are among the most active players in luxury real estate, according to a new survey of ultra-wealthy consumers by Coldwell Banker Previews International® and the Luxury Institute.

“Young affluents recognize the value of real estate,” said Ginette Wright, vice president of marketing for Previews®/ NRT.  “And they are often bullish when it comes to real estate—they own more properties and tend to spend more on average. Their outlook on long-term appreciation is also more positive.”

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The survey found that 73% of wealthy consumers under the age of 35—the most out of any age group—are considering a purchase of additional residential real estate in the next 12 months for personal use. These buyers also expect their home to appreciate by an average of 16% in the next five years, compared to 13% for buyers ages 45-64 and 11% for buyers 65 and older. Additionally, they are among the biggest spenders, as they paid $7.8 million on average for their last home, compared to $6.8 million for buyers between 35 and 44 years of age, $2.7 million for those between 45 and 64, and $1 million for buyers 65 and older. One reason for the price difference could be due to the kinds of homes they desire. Nearly three-fourths (72%) of respondents younger than 35 said that buying a move-in-ready home is important.

“Our agents in cities like Los Angeles and Miami tell us the same thing: new construction is king right now,” added Wright. “Younger luxury buyers are not looking for a project—they want everything turn-key, right down to the décor and furnishings. All of which, of course, adds to the home’s overall price tag.”

While location and price remain the most important elements in the decision making process for the majority of ultra-wealthy buyers, younger affluents are less inclined to choose a property based on geography. Thanks to convenient travel options and the ability to work from anywhere becoming more widespread, just 25% of the under-35 group reports that location dominates their search criteria, but 75% say that lifestyle considerations drive their choice of which home to buy. At the other extreme, 88% of buyers 65 and older say that location is the most potent driver of their next property search.

Younger affluents are also interested in different home amenities than their seasoned counterparts. Safe rooms (37%), home theaters (36%), pool (34%), outdoor kitchens (33%) and “green” or “eco-friendly” amenities (29%) remain at the top of the wish list for buyers under the age of 35. Compared to the 65+ demographic, those same features ranked far lower: 7% wanted safe rooms, 12% wanted home theaters, 16% wanted a pool, 17% wanted a pool and 10% wanted a “green” home.

To find more interesting comparisons between the age groups, download the complete Wealthy Consumer Survey: http://www.previewsinsideout.com/2014/10/exclusive-wealthy-consumer-survey-2014/

Coldwell Banker Previews International Luxury Market Report Reveals Newcomers On List Of Hottest U.S. Cities For Luxury Home Sales

PR Newswire
October 1, 2014
High Net-Worth Consumer Survey Reveals Dramatic Gender Gaps
MADISON, N.J.Oct. 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Quiet, unassuming areas adjacent to traditional luxury markets have rapidly transformed into hotbeds of luxury real estate in the 12-month period from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014.  Leading the way and making its debut in the top 5 U.S. luxury markets for homes valued at $1 million+ is San Jose, where high-end home sales are up a staggering 76% from this time last year, according to the Luxury Market Report prepared by the Coldwell Banker Previews International® marketing program. With Silicon Valley luxury real estate on fire, the affluent enclave of Atherton doubled its sales in the $10 million+ range from 2013. Burlingame, located approximately a mile from Hillsborough in Northern California emerged in the $10 million+ list for sold homes for the first time, most likely as the result of low inventory in the Bay Area’s most sought-after ZIP codes. Adjacency is a powerful trend playing out in high-demand luxury cities well beyond Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, notably in Miami.North Miami Beach made its debut among the top 20 cities for $10 million+ homes sold —signaling that luxury buyers are expanding their horizons beyond the typical hotspots of Miami Beach, South Beach and the private communities of Star and Fisher Islands. Overall, San Francisco led the nation with the highest number of sales in the $1 million+ category—up nearly 57% from this time last year. During the last 12 months through June 2014, the top five U.S. cities with the highest number of luxury home sales valued at $1 million+ are:

Coldwell Banker Previews International Luxury Market Report

Ranking

City

State

Number of Home Sales Valued at $1 million+

1

San Francisco

Calif.

2,485

2

Los Angeles

Calif.

2,170

3

New York

N.Y.

2,145

4

San Jose

Calif.

1,119

5

Houston

Texas

981

6

Chicago

Ill.

972

7

Naples

Fla.

964

8

Miami

Fla.

933

9

San Diego

Calif.

927

10

Washington

DC

878

The number of sales for four out of five of these top cities is up by at least 36%. Extending the range up to the $10 million+ category, Miami Beach and Aspen have another strong showing against long standing luxury real estate epicenters New York and Beverly Hills.

Coldwell Banker Previews International Luxury Market Report

Ranking

City

State

Number of Home Sales Valued at $10 million+

1

New York

N.Y.

58

2

Beverly Hills

Calif.

28

3

Los Angeles

Calif.

25

4

Miami Beach

Fla.

17

5

Aspen

Colo.

16

6 (tie)

Greenwich

Conn.

14

6 (tie)

Atherton

Calif.

14

7

Santa Barbara

Calif.

10

8

Malibu

Calif.

8

9

Palm Beach

Fla.

7

10 (tie)

Laguna Beach

Calif.

6

10 (tie)

Kailua Kona

Hawaii

6

10 (tie)

Naples

Fla.

6

10 (tie)

San Francisco

Calif.

6

HIGH-NET-WORTH CONSUMER SURVEY The U.S. high-end residential real estate market remains strong, with nearly half (48%) of all wealthy consumers indicating that they plan to purchase a luxury home within the next 12 months, according to the companion survey of wealthy U.S. consumers with a net worth of at least $5 million (penta-millionaires) conducted by the Coldwell Banker Previews International® program and the Luxury Institute.  Younger buyers are by far the most highly motivated to purchase:  An overwhelming 81% of affluent individuals under 35 plan to buy a luxury home in the next year. The survey reveals dramatic generational differences:

  • Penta-millionaires 35 and under reported the highest average purchase price of all age groups - $7.8 million – and have the largest percentage (80%) of all age groups paying all-cash.
  • By stark contrast, wealthy buyers 45-64 paid an average of $2.7 million for their most recent home purchase while buyers 65 and older spent just $1 million.

The report brought to light strong gender gaps:

  • 70% of women reported paying all-cash for their most recent property vs. 57% of men.
  • Women reported buying more expensive homes than men:
    • 22% of women spent $10 million or more for their most recent property vs. 13% of men in the same wealth bracket.
  • 46% of women have plans to buy another home in the coming year, up from 31% in 2013.

Location, location, location may no longer be the golden rule of real estate:

  • With the ability to work remotely now a reality for many, only 25% of the under-35 age group indicate that location dominates their search criteria.
  • Instead, 75% say that lifestyle considerations are the No. 1 factor driving their choice of which home to buy.
  • As evidence of this powerful generational shift, 86% of buyers 65 and older say that location remains their top priority.  

Hottest In-Demand Amenities:

  • Nearly one-third of all wealthy buyers under the age of 45 count a “green” or “LEED certified” home as more important than it was 3 years ago.
  • The trend is also catching on among wealthy buyers of all ages, with 21% saying that they want to buy an eco-friendly home, up from a mere 7% in 2013.
  • As homes become increasingly high-tech, 25% now consider a fully automated home a priority.
  • 37% of respondents under age 35 and 30% of those with a net worth exceeding $10 million will prioritize safe rooms in their next homes.

The full list of the Top 20 Best Performing U.S. Cities in Luxury Real Estate by price points of $1 million+, $5 million+ and $10 million+, and the high-net-worth consumer survey results can be viewed here www.previewslmr.com. About Coldwell Banker Previews International® The Coldwell Banker Previews International program has been a world leader in the marketing of luxury homes since 1933. The Previews® program was acquired by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC in 1980 and re-launched as Coldwell Banker Previews International, the brand’s luxury homes program.  The exclusive group of certified Previews Property Specialists make up approximately 8.5 percent of the Coldwell Banker sales associates worldwide.  Coldwell Banker Previews International participated in more than 20,000 transaction sides of homes priced at $1 million or more in 2013. On average, Previews handles $102.7 million in luxury homes sales every day. Coldwell Banker, Previews and Coldwell Banker Previews International are registered marks licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Each office is independently owned and operated. Sales associates affiliated with Coldwell Banker offices are independent contractors. About Coldwell Banker® Since 1906, the Coldwell Banker® organization has been a premier provider of full-service residential and commercial real estate. Coldwell Banker is the oldest national real estate brand in the United States and today has a network of approximately 84,200 independent sales associates affiliated with more than 3,100 offices in 48 countries and territories. The Coldwell Banker brand is known for creating innovative consumer services as recently seen by being the first national real estate brand with an iPad app, the first to augment its website www.coldwellbanker.com for smart phones, the first to create a iPhone application with international listings and the first to fully harness the power of video in real estate listings, news and information through its Coldwell Banker On LocationSMYouTube channel.  The Coldwell Banker System is a leader in niche markets such as resort, new homes and luxury properties through its Coldwell Banker Previews International® marketing program.  Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act.  Each office is independently owned and operated. Coldwell Banker is a subsidiary of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. Methodology Manhattan area active listing data has been gathered from the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). Not all Manhattan area real estate brokerage firms make Information about their property listings available to any cooperative resource, including REBNY.  Manhattan area sales data has been gathered from REBNY and from StreetEasy.com, an online consumer and private industry portal that reports closed real estate transactions from REBNY as well as other reporting brokerage resources. Not all Manhattan area real estate brokerage firms report their closed sales to any cooperative resource, including StreetEasy.com and / or REBNY. All other data has been gathered from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) databases known or believed to be the primary real estate broker cooperative resources for each market referenced in the report. All closed sales activity reported is for the annual period July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. Closed sales reported to the MLS significantly later than this analysis period will not be included. All active status listing records were downloaded and processed to the same standards, and on various dates, during the months of July and August, 2014. Property specific listing and sales records were standardized to USPS address city and ZIP Code, inaccurate list and sale prices were corrected when necessary, and all duplicate records were manually excluded. As a result, statistics available via the source data providers may not correlate to this analysis. While all results are believed to be highly accurate, MLS systems do not report all real estate activity in their primary marketplace, and there may have been property transfers not included in this analysis. Copyright © 2014, Real Data Strategies, Inc. All rights reserved. Licensed for the exclusive use of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. The Luxury Institute, in partnership with the Coldwell Banker Previews International® program, conducted research on the topic of real estate during Quarter 2, 2014. This in-depth survey includes responses from 506 ultra-wealthy male and female consumers in the United States. Respondents were recruited and screened to only include those age 21 or older with a minimum gross annual household income of $200,000 and a minimum net worth of $5 million.

SOURCE Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC

Media Inquiries:

Athena Snow

Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC

973.407.5590

Athena.Snow@coldwellbanker.com

Holly Taylor

Rogers and Cowan for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC

310.854.8115

hetaylor@rogersandcowan.com

SOURCE Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC RELATED LINKS http://www.coldwellbanker.com http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/coldwell-banker-previews-international-luxury-market-report-reveals-newcomers-on-list-of-hottest-us-cities-for-luxury-home-sales-277723761.html

August 20, 2014

Macy’s settles up in profiling case

By: Dan Gorenstein
Marketplace
August 20, 2014

After the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown and the recent clashes in Ferguson, Missouri, racial profiling has returned to the national spotlight.

Department store chain Macy’s reached a $650,000 settlement Wednesday with the New York Attorney General’s office over racial profiling practices, which shows how deep the issue runs. This is the second settlement since 2005 for Macy’s, and the deal comes about a week after a similar agreement was reached with the Madison Avenue luxury store Barney’s.

The most recent investigation has found that African-American and Hispanic shoppers were detained at  “significantly higher rates” for alleged shoplifting than white shoppers.

Retail researcher Paula Rosenblum says racial profiling is frequently an afterthought in the industry.

“They mostly advise their store associates to watch out for people who look suspicious,” she says.

Milton Pedraza, founder and CEO of the Luxury Institute, says retailers have every incentive to train front-line and security staff so every customer feels welcome.

“Even if you didn’t have moral clarity on the issue, at least you should have economic clarity on the issue,” he says.

Pedraza says stealing a shirt is insignificant compared to the additional sales that come from building a reputation as a kind and generous merchant.

For its part, Macy’s has agreed to make several changes, including an effort to improve its anti-shoplifting practices and plans to distribute an anti-racial-profiling memo to workers.

Simma Lieberman, who works with retailers on diversity and what she calls “cultural intelligence” says employers should know profiling is often unconscious. Lieberman trains her clients to monitor their own personal biases. Often, she says, shop clerks are quick to make assumptions, and “they don’t get to behavior, they just look at what somebody looks like.”

The danger, says Lieberman, is in our rush to judgment, when we “assume someone is going to have a certain behavior, which they may not have.”

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/macys-settles-profiling-case

February 28, 2014

Buying into bling

By Daina Lawrence
Special to The Globe and Mail
February 27, 2014

Affluent individuals around the world bucked the depressed market norms of the last few years and managed to keep the luxury goods market bustling by investing in alternatives such as art, wine and supercars.

Companies such as Hermès SA, Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA are gaining new customers daily, with 10 million new buyers wading into the market each year.

Many of these companies have given good news to shareholders recently, including luxury goods dynamo Michael Kors – known for its footwear, watches and clothing – whose shares soared 17.3 per cent to $89.91 (U.S.) in early February, after the company’s report of higher-than-expected profits.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes quotes from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/buying-into-bling/article17132730/