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Aca Joe store at Picaddy Circus London 1987. The entrance escalator to the Underground by the side. Tower records next door. Both stores now closed. Luxury Retail, though the price point is low and the line casual.

The future of Luxury Retail.

The future of Luxury Retail.

The future of Luxury Retail.

The future of Luxury Retail, is the opposite as Retail of Essentials. In other words not for basic primary necessity products. Mainly pragmatic examples don’t apply. We will also talk about Mixed Use. Retail has existed for 1000′ s of years. Luxury Retail is different. Retail will go on as long as we exist and like to make choices.


My own acronym for the concepts I consider relevant for Branding and Retail, can also be used for other Design compositions in today’s world. Do your own acronym for your own concepts. The future of Luxury Retail sometimes depends on it.

Provenance, Nature, Glamour and Technology.

P for Provenance. Similar to History or Background, not for Startups necessarily. For instance Bentley cars have Provenance, 100 years or more, winner of Le Mans and so on. A relatively new brand like GAP, could track what its 40 years where about, a starting point.

N for Nature. In today’s World, you have to state your point of view. Will you help to keep destroying the planet, or do you actually have a Sustainable or Circular Philosophy and what is it that your product or design are doing about it. Or hope to…

G for Glamour. Here is where we are focusing on Luxury Retail. If it is supposed to be luxurious it has to have an angle to it. For instance it is exclusive, limited production, looks better than other similar products, it is endorsed. I love the Patek Philippe watch add, “you never really own a Patek Phippe watch, you are only looking after it for the next generation. In this case longevity is part of the Glamour, though of course Provenance comes into play. “It belonged to my grandfather…

T for Technology. An apple computer has the obvious T. Bentley is the new car doing something better in its technology to justify the T. Is the GAP wear doing so, and if so how.

This is a method to qualify or grade a product.


Aca Joe Corner store design updated protype© Luxury Retail, though the price point is low and the line casual.

Aca Joe Corner store design updated prototype© Luxury Retail, though the price point is low and the line casual.

Aca Joe, has Provence. It started about 50 years ago, as Acapulco Joe, and created certain sensation. Today I have friends telling me they have a AJ Garment they have kept for 30-40 years and they still like it. I’m wearing a Veri  Huomo suit today, I bought it in Paris over 30 year ago. I’m proud to say it still fit in it.



Gap, Inc. Banana Republic.

This is a large International corporation with thousands of stores. Our analyzes is succinct and limited to a recent visited to Banana Republic.

We were invited as Interior Designer to tour the Banana Republic store at the Corte Madera, California Village Center Mall, because they came out with a Home products line they were incorporation to the store.

How to my recollection in the 40 years or so that I had know about BR, I had never entered one of their stores. The initial one must have been great opened in Mill Valley’s Town center, and in the mid to late 80’s won an award Aca Joe was seeking. I did walk into a few GAP stores at the request of a retail client who wanted me to see something in them. Probably haven’t been into one this Century (did with my daughter who wanted to buy something).

I look at this big ship. Gap, BR, Old Navy and Athleta. Without they right direction navigating in todays retail.



Letter sent and acknowledge by The New York Times.

Hi Sapna,
Nice article, true and an unfortunate circumstances. However, land use changes occur historically sometimes motivated by a reason like less demand or too much competition (there are too many Malls), or a combination like Amazon first and then the Pandemic. Amazon itself massively reduced site shopping. Retail and Malls were already bleeding before the Pandemic.

I have always been an advocate of Mixed Use. Diversifies frequency of use.

With the infrastructure bill and parallel housing initiatives, hopefully one could bring in medium density/income housing to use the horrible empty parking lots, and retain the core “The Mall€ for both retail at a smaller scale like the Bakery, and social services like a Gym or church, and optimize land use. I know this is not easy but if it occurs the change will be for the better. A challenge for the money people and authorities. For us Architects it is just fun to design for a new need and make people happy.

I recently read about a Mall converting the upper level to apartments and keeping Retail below. I hope it works, like in the High Street, often your shop downstairs and your house above, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (now hotel and other high end above but initially housing). No commuting, and a lot of other good things. European post war New Towns had their Town Centres designed to serve multi use. The library and post office next to the Tesco or a Whole Foods, it would be interesting to see them now they have matured.

Keep up the good work and stay safe,

Hi Jerry, thanks for the note and apologies for the belated response, as I was out for a couple of weeks! I really appreciate your thoughts — I will keep reporting on the repurposing of these spaces in the next year!

All best,


Multi-use Brands. Though Bentley is best known for its cars, it know has a Home Line. That is High end or Luxury line of products for the home. So does Lamborghini. Whether they market the products together or not depends on a number of issues. But synergy does work. Mixed Use is essential for many part of a successful PNGT.
Example of Lixury in the ( Competition for Bentley new Display showrooms.  Bentleys new seats.

Gerald Hines Developments.

The Houston Galleria. A shopping experience.
Back in the 70’s the shopping at Houston Gallery was a breakthrough. Though basically a Mall, the building complex has hotels and office buildings, let alone Entertainment, with is Ice ring as well as tons of food facilities. Mixed use does work.

Jeff Bezos wants to open Department Stores.

Now what do we dance. Let’s wait and see the attack and then reply. I’m sure it will have Mixed Use, like incorporating Whole Foods into it.

Sanborn’s Restaurant-Stores in Mexico.

Sanbor’s is a chain of Restaurants in Mexico. We used to go as kids for breakfast with our Grandfather, withinGrandfather the Restaurants compound but before entering the dining room, there is Retail. Typically magazines, chocolates and nuts, even TV; while sometimes a drugstore. Now owned by local Billionaire Carlos Slim, the chain continues to be successful. This is a perfect example of Mixed Use. The Founders of the chain, came to CDMX from California. The Casa is an antique restored unique building Tile lined facade.

There is provenance. The restaurant our Grandfather took us to, had huge Rufino Tamayo mural work. Now closed but the murals relocated to the Soumaya Museum, More important is “La Casa de los Azulejos” 

La Casa de los Azulejos. Sanborn's CDMX Centro

La Casa de los Azulejos. Sanborn’s CDMX Centro


Many Brands and stores will consolidate. An example is Saks 5th. Avenue, buying Neiman Marcus. What does this mean? Less competition, less variety, less fun, less jobs, we don’t know. They argue it is better leverage for buying or cost of goods. As we know this happens all the toime with other fields such as software, are there any benefits for the consumer. Again LVMH owns many brands, yet we keep seeing them with their own personalities.




5.1.24 How LVMH is reshaping neighborhoods internationally into luxury plazas




The Square. Union Square San Francisco