Topics » Business & Economy   Dec. 23, 2011

Bargain Basements and Top Shelves: What's Driving Retail Growth?

Chanel Diamond Bag: $261,000

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Photo: Chanel via fashionisty.com

Louis Vuitton Bandouliè: $1140Mouthwash: $2Hennessey Cognac: $200,000Paper Towels: $1Gucci Speedboat: $750,000Holiday Toys: $1-$15Chanel Diamond Bag: $261,000Mustard: $1-$1.50Hermès Watch: $36,200 Laundry Detergent: $2.75

Chanel Diamond Bag: $261,000

Madonna holds a black version of the Chanel "Diamond Forever" bag at an auction during the The American Foundation for AIDS Research's Cinema Against AIDS 2008 benefit. The bag is made with alligator skin, 18-karat white gold hardware and has 3.56 carats from 334 diamonds.

Noting that U.S. luxury spending has been up by 10 to 15 percent since 2010, luxury analyst Milton Pedraza told us, "There's been a flight to quality and a flight to pedigree. So the Guccis of the world, the Louis Vuittons, the Chanels, all the brands that we think as classic have done far better than brands that are, let's say, not-so-pedigreed, don't have a long history, don't have classic products."

Chanel is the fourth-most powerful luxury brand in the world according to Millward Brown Optimor, and its brand value is worth $6.8 billion. Watch Rich Shopper, Poor Shopper.