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Edited by on May 9 2012 at 7:35 AM

The Luxury Institute, which is (as I was disappointed to learn) not a trade school but a New York-based research firm, conducted a survey of shoppers with an annual income of at least $150,000 to determine the top luxury retailers. Based on store personnel, environment and overall satisfaction, Nordstrom out-luxed the competition with an average rating of 8.41 out of 10.

Nordstrom Best in Luxury, According to Retail Survey

Bergdorf Goodman, a subsidiary of Neiman Marcus, came in second with a respectable 8.37 while Barneys brings up the rear with an 8.23, according to the 2012 Luxury Consumer Experience Index (LCEI).

Nordstrom is also the most visited retailer with 36% of surveyed shoppers having glided through one of its locations within the past 12 months. The Seattle-based department store also ranked highest in customer retention, with 96% of respondents claiming they would shop there again and another 94% likely to recommend Nordstrom to friends and family.

“Retailers, especially in luxury, are selling experiences to customers more than they are selling any particular good,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “In the case of a retailer like Nordstrom, we see that a program of continuous improvement in the customer experience can lead to higher degrees of loyalty and improved financial performance.”

In comparison, only 6% of shoppers visited Bergdorf Goodman and 7% shopped at Barneys, though the study suggests this exclusivity helps ratchet up the pricing. While 76% of Bergdorf shoppers and 74% of Barneys shoppers felt that the stores’ goods were of a “significant price premium,” only 65% of Nordstrom devotees felt the same about its offerings.

The Luxury Institute surveyed 1,200 participants with an average income of $292,000 and an average net worth of $3 million. Which I guess explains why I never received my survey in the mail. Lop off a few zeroes next year, however, and I’ll be ready with my answers. [Globe Newswire]

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Story by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester dot brathwaite at gmail

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