For American shoppers with an income at least $150,000 a year, there’s a new favorite luxury retail destination. According to the 2012 Luxury Consumer Experience Index (LCEI) survey, the top spot now belongs to Nordstrom, after two years of trailing this year’s second-place finisher, Bergdorf Goodman. Barneys New York came in a close third. Evaluating a number of qualitative criteria, the LCEI survey covers everything from customer service and shopping environment to reward programs and overall satisfaction. The average income of this year’s respondent pool was $292,000, with an net worth of just over $3 million. These numbers were up slightly from last year’s survey, where the average income and net worth were $271,000 and $2.4 million, respectively.
It’s important to point out, though, that Nordstrom has an advantage over its two more regional “boutique” counterparts because of how many more brick and mortar locations it has. With 116 stores nationwide, Nordstrom has close to three times the number of Barneys New York stores, and 114 more than Bergdorf Goodman’s two outposts. It’s no surprise, then that more than a third (36 percent) of wealthy consumers in the study say they had shopped at Nordstrom in the past year–the most of any store in the survey. On the flip side, just 7 percent had physically set foot inside a Barneys and even fewer (6 percent) inside a Bergdorf Goodman. Despite fewer customers, 74 percent of Barneys and 76 percent of Bergdorf Goodman shoppers believe the prices and merchandise are well-priced. Just 65 percent of Nordstrom shoppers make this claim.
Where Nordstrom really impresses is in customer loyalty: a near-perfect 96 percent of its shoppers plan to return and 94% say that would recommend Nordstrom to friends and family.
Based on the retailer’s strong financial performance in recent months, taking the top spot in the LCEI index only makes consistent sense. In a preview of its first-quarter earnings report (which measures the period between February and April of this year), Nordstrom said that revenue at those stores open at least one year increased by 7.1 percent, surpassing analyst projections by 1.3 percent. And it’s not just most recently that the high-end retailer has posted bullish numbers: Nordstrom’s revenue has experienced double-digit growth every quarter since 2010 for an impressive average uptick of 12.2 percent. Nordstrom’s net income has also increased each of the last three quarters