Coming soon – a members-only store for the ultra rich

Discussion
Rendering of The Guess Private Merchant Company - Source: The Guess Corporation
Sep 22, 2016

If you have a net worth of at least $250 million, you are eligible to join the new private membership department store chain being launched by The Guess Private Merchant Company (GPMC).

The company plans to launch a total of 40 stores over the next four years, including locations in Atlanta, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Miami, Moscow, Mumbai and New York.

In addition to an unspecified membership fee, members will need to spend a minimum of $10K annually. Members will be approved by a committee and issued a platinum membership card with charging privileges. Membership will be capped at 10,000 worldwide.

Upon entering a store, members will be greeted by a concierge who will remain with them during their entire visit to make sure their needs are met.

GPMC stores will be housed in seven-story glass buildings that offer a long list of services including “a fine dining restaurant, sushi bar, coffee bar, full-service unisex salon and spa, medical clinic including dental and cosmetic services, private suites for dressing and/or overnight stays with room service, meeting rooms with secure video-conferencing, business center, theater room, photography studio, private dining rooms, fitness center, swimming pool, ballroom, secure vault room with safety deposit boxes and an on-site private bank (through licensed banking provider).”

Each floor will also have merchandise suites staffed with specialists to provide for the needs of members — men, women and children. There will be individual suites for various types of clothing and accessories, cosmetics, footwear, home furnishings, jewelry and watches.

“We are delighted to provide another offering for the ultra-affluent consumer as we continue developing ventures that will meet their demands.”

Members will also gain instant access to another venture, the GP Clubs country club concept. Each four-story club mansion includes business and video-conference centers, meeting rooms, a medical clinic, salon and sleeping suites in addition to a convenience store, dining hall and gas station. The company plans to open about 250 GP Clubs over the next two years. Sites include Arlington, VA, Atlanta, Beverly Hills, Charleston, SC, Greenwich, CT, Nashville and Orlando.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see membership clubs/subscription services developed for specific demographics or personal interests becoming more prominent in retail over the next five years? What is your reaction to The Guess Private Merchant Company concept?

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16 Comments on "Coming soon – a members-only store for the ultra rich"


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Max Goldberg
Guest

Let me know when the first one, either store or club, is actually built. I don’t see this concept going anywhere. The ultra rich already have numerous retailers, shopping services and clubs catering to their needs.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

It is a market limited by the number of potential customers (1 percent of the world’s population?) and the areas where the wealth is concentrated. It may be fun for those who qualify as members; otherwise, irrelevant.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

How will members prove their net worth? Tax returns? Clearly, Donald Trump won’t be eligible.

The GPMC will probably be wildly successful (look at the Starbucks Black Card) but should leave a bad taste in the mouths of those of us whose incomes don’t exceed the GDP of small countries. Expect some backlash.

Jasmine Glasheen
BrainTrust
Jasmine Glasheen
Principal Writer & Content Strategist, Jasmine Glasheen & Associates
5 years 7 months ago

Agreed, Cathy. The point of higher-echelon cards and clubs are not only to honor VIPs, but to inspire other customers to strive for access. For most people, this mall will never happen. I see this upsetting customers. Not cool, Guess.

Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

This isn’t the ’50s. I don’t see how a department store for the ultra rich is anything but a terrorist target. While I am not one of the people, a recent luxury survey reported many lived in Ohio, Wisconsin and other rural areas. I would venture to say if they wanted to stay over they’d rather be at a Ritz-Carlton than a department store.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

I am with Max. Those that qualify don’t need this. They have special access to “clubs” like this and more.

David Livingston
Guest
5 years 7 months ago

Sounds like a sucker investment aimed at the 99 percent.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust
This follows the list of the press releases that Guess sent out regarding their intentions in the c-store industry. They included the following: Announcement in July that the Guess was seeking to acquire at least 1,000 c-stores in the next 12 months. To date, to my knowledge, they have not acquired any; An August announcement that Guess had hired an architectural firm, which will design the new “upscale” convenience stores; Another August press release with a conceptual drawing of what their new store would look like. The announcement indicated the stores would carry premium quality merchandise; A third August announcement stating Guess had engaged an exclusive real estate broker and had in place a c-level team (none of which had c-store experience); A fourth press release in August that said Guess was seeking “approved operating partners” to actually operate its c-store/fueling locations. In September Guess announced it would open (at select c-store sites) Guess Brad stores with 20 tables per restaurant with only two chairs per table for couples-only dinning. After this “interesting” list of… Read more »
Mel Kleiman
BrainTrust

Plain and simple, not even worth the time on comment on it. It reminded me of a movie title: Dumb and Dumber.

Shawn Harris
BrainTrust
Shawn Harris
Senior Director, Global Retail and Hospitality Strategy & Business Development, Turing.ai
5 years 7 months ago

This concept will not fly. Individuals with a net worth greater than $250,000 have people who shop for them. Also, given the shifts in labor markets that are on the horizon with advanced automation, this initiative as I understand it will be too conspicuous. From the 7th floor you’ll hear members yelling, ” … let them eat cake!”

I owned a luxury menswear business for a number of years. In Boston, we coupled it with a members-only private club with stocked bar, billiards ($40,000 pool tables), darts ($25,000 dart boards), entertainment system and completely automated controls. Members loved it, they just have too many other choices for exclusive venues and amenities.

Shawn Harris
BrainTrust
Shawn Harris
Senior Director, Global Retail and Hospitality Strategy & Business Development, Turing.ai
5 years 7 months ago

$250 million, not $250,000. Blame the moderator bot 🙂

Vahe Katros
Guest
Vahe Katros
5 years 7 months ago

I just checked to see if today was April 1st.

Lee Kent
Guest

Frasier and Niles Crane would be pulling every string imaginable to get an invitation. Yes, I have been watching Frasier reruns and that is exactly what came to mind when I read this.

Take it down a few notches where it might be affordable to a few more and they just might have a concept that is sustainable.

For my 2 cents.

Kai Clarke
BrainTrust

This is a poorly thought-out model. The ultra rich don’t go somewhere to shop, they have product brought to them or services shared with them in the comfort of their home. Having very demanding requirements and barriers to demonstrate that you are “über wealthy” does not appear to be realistic. No one likes sharing information about their wealth, let alone having to “prove” your net worth just so that you can shop somewhere. This is a flawed concept and doesn’t even have a real-world example to prove its viability.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Atlanta? Perhaps they know more about the demographics there — actually, they’d BETTER know more (than I) about the demographics there — but that doesn’t seem like a place with enough $250M consumers to support the concept.

But then, is there ANY place with enough such consumers? Not that they don’t exist, but I don’t see this idea as a very compelling proposition for them.

A photographer? A sushi bar? This sound more like a plot for a sitcom than a serious business proposal.

Kenneth Leung
BrainTrust

Don’t see that working for the ultra rich … They already access to services by all major luxury brands based on their spending patterns. The country club may work but that’s a whole different business model, and brands are already reaching out to private country clubs to present their offerings.

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