Luxury Investment Spending


Phoenix, AZ – November 15, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Notwithstanding our current economic malaise, luxury and its manifest investments dramatically dispel any doubt that at least one per cent of the population is spending and spending without limitation.

In Q2, Tiffany & Co., for example, increased its sales In the Americas, between 25% to $438.2 million in the second quarter and 22% to $812.9 million in the first half. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales and comparable store sales in the quarter rose 24% and 23% and in the first half rose 21% and 20% (in the quarter and first half, sales in the New York flagship store increased 41% and 33%, benefiting from strong foreign tourist demand, and comparable branch store sales in the Americas increased 19% and 17%). Internet and catalog sales in the Americas increased 16% and 15%.

It is significant that Tiffany & Co. notes in 2011 a high-teens percentage increase in worldwide net sales (in U.S. dollars). They’re opening 17 Company-operated stores, including 6 in the Americas, in 2011.

Purveyors of beauty and value are strategic in their branding. Some recent examples from Tiffany & Co. include: tapping crooner, Tony Bennett, to compile a playlist of his favorite love songs for the brand’s What Makes Love True campaign; collaborating with architect, Frank Gehry, to offer signature line of Gehry-inspired jewelry.

Connecting the dots is the common sentiment of ennui that all of us feel and to which successful businesses appeal. In Fellini’s film, “La Dolce Vita”, Marcello Mastroianni mused, “It is necessary to live outside of the passions, of the feelings…in the harmony of a work of perfect art, a magic order. We understand, then, that the pleasure of investment has a Janus-like visage, simultaneously satisfying the quest for and recognition of beauty and value in an order characterized by Mastroianni/Fellini as “magic”.

The arts are such magic, whether in modes of dance, performance, visual or musical form. Their venues are their containers ranging in structure from performing arts centers, museums or galleries. These formal spaces are now tangible in digital form, anywhere, anytime. “Art is everywhere”. James and
Patricia Ratliff, Owners of James Ratliff Gallery in Sedona, Arizona, engage the seasoned and new investor by offering a range of contemporary art works of sculpture, painting, furniture, jewelry, ceramics, drawings which captivate, inspire and elicit appreciation. It’s a love affair, a seduction. Jim comments on the variety of work on exhibition at the gallery and its appeal for personal or business collections: “For over 40 years I’ve always told clients that it’s the rarity of the work that signals its investment value.

The thrill of watching clients discover what captivates them is an equal satisfaction of working in the gallery business. The fact that someone like Georgia O’Keeffe commands investment pricing is indisputable: her work is beautiful, recognized and valued. Someone like John Dawson, however, is a different talent. He fulfills the rarity component; he’s highly talented, offering signature visual statements if sometimes jarring images contemporary to our times. His work might not always be considered “beautiful”, but it’s definitely “rare”. All told, luxury offers the opportunity to engage….that’s what life is all about! The singular, enduring advantage of art is its permanence and the ability to savor that “magic”
each day…It’s the height, breadth and depth – the essence – of an investment.

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