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Luxury for Less

Luxe for Less
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Warehouse clubs are more than just about stocking up on paper towels and shampoo. Amidst the pallets of super-sized sodas and snacks, they also carry their share of luxury items for that can’t-stop-myself splurge. For example, handbags, and have been known to grace Costco’s shelves over the years.In some cases, the warehouse clubs partner with high-end brands to offer its members exclusive products at discounted prices. However, some retailers may also obtain items through gray-market buying — a
Photo: William Andrew | Getty Images

Warehouse clubs are more than just about stocking up on paper towels and shampoo. Amidst the pallets of super-sized sodas and snacks, they also carry their share of luxury items for that can’t-stop-myself splurge.

For example, Coach, Chanel, and Burberryhandbags, Herman Miller chairs,and Waterford crystalhave been known to grace Costco’s shelves over the years.

In some cases, the warehouse clubs partner with high-end brands to offer its members exclusive products at discounted prices. However, some retailers may also obtain items through gray-market buying — a controversial practice in which retailers circumvent manufacturers and buy products through third-party distributors. Costco,the subject of a CNBC documentary “The Costco Craze,”sometimes employs this strategy. That has led some companies to sue the retailer, but most have been unsuccessful.

Costco’s founder and former CEO Jim Sinegal has no qualms procuring goods through the gray market.

“If the supplier is refusing to sell to us, there’s only one reason why they’re refusing to sell to us. And that’s because the price that we bring the goods to market,” he told CNBC.

The real problem, he said, is “when people try to manipulate the market so that they can control prices and keep prices artificially high. That’s wrong.”

The selection of luxury goods in warehouse stores varies from region to region and store to store. Sometimes finding them is all about luck.

No matter. Just toss them all into a doublewide shopping cart and head to the checkout line.

Click ahead to see luxury items at warehouse clubs that may have you reaching for your wallet.

By Ellen Lee, Special to CNBC.com
Posted 25 April 2012

Mercedes-Benz SL550 Roadster
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Costco price: $105,245Through partnerships with local authorized dealers, Costco members receive a reduced price on cars that’s meant to be haggle free. lists the makes and models in its inventory, from a Toyota Prius to a Porsche Roadster. It then connects members to a local dealer, who offers a pre-negotiated Costco quote. For a new 2012 Mercedes-Benz SL550 Roadster, with additional accessories such as a black leather interior and a panorama roof with sun shade, as well as added costs such as
Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Costco price: $105,245

Through partnerships with local authorized dealers, Costco members receive a reduced price on cars that’s meant to be haggle free.

Costco’s websitelists the makes and models in its inventory, from a Toyota Prius to a Porsche Roadster. It then connects members to a local dealer, who offers a pre-negotiated Costco quote.

For a new 2012 Mercedes-Benz SL550 Roadster, with additional accessories such as a black leather interior and a panorama roof with sun shade, as well as added costs such as a gas guzzler tax, we were quoted 5.8 percent off the MSRP price of $111,725. Costco members are also eligible for additional manufacturer rebates and special financing.

A Weeklong Villa Rental in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
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Costco price: $9,000 to $11,700 A Caribbean getaway through Indeed. Among its travel packages, members receive discounted rates for luxury vacation home rentals in the United States, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe.  Take the in the Virgin Islands. The five-bedroom, 7,500-square-foot abode features an infinity pool overlooking the Caribbean’s deep blue waters. A weeklong stay during the high season costs $13,000 but for Costco members, it’s a mere $11,700.
Photo: Oliver Benn | Stone | Getty Images

Costco price: $9,000 to $11,700

A Caribbean getaway through Costco?Indeed. Among its travel packages, members receive discounted rates for luxury vacation home rentals in the U.S., Costa Rica, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe.

Take the Cabrita Cliff Hausin the Virgin Islands. The five-bedroom, 7,500-square-foot abode features an infinity pool overlooking the Caribbean’s deep blue waters. A weeklong stay during the high season costs $13,000, but for Costco members, it’s a mere $11,700.

Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac
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Costco price: $1,799.99 Known as the “King of Cognac,” this aged French cognac is bottled in an individually numbered crystal decanter. It sells for as much as $2,150 from otherIt is only available at Costco warehouses in the San Francisco Bay Area. 
Photo: Costco

Costco price: $1,799.99

Known as the “King of Cognac,” this aged French cognac is bottled in an individually numbered crystal decanter.

It sells for as much as $2,150 from other liquor retailers. It is only available at Costco warehouses in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Betsey Johnson Frames
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Sam’s Club Price: $67 and up (not including prescription)No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Though Betsey Johnson frames cost almost $200 a pair elsewhere,members of Sam’s Club can pick them up for as low as $67.
Photo: Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club price: $67 and up (not including prescription)

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Though Betsey Johnson frames cost almost $200 a pair elsewhere, members of Sam’s Club can pick them up for as low as $67.

Wedding Dresses by Kirstie Kelly
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Costco price: $499 to $699In a match made in, well, Costco, the retailer launched an exclusive line of wedding dresses designed by last year. Kelly, who had also previously designed wedding dresses for Disney, has referred to her Costco wedding dresses as “CostCouture.”Blushing brides-to-be don’t have to try on the gowns in between Costco’s warehouse aisles. The dresses have been sold through trunk shows held at Costco stores around the United States. Women make appointments at the pop-up salons
Photo: Kristie Kelly

Costco price: $499 to $699

In a match made in, well, Costco, the retailer launched an exclusive line of wedding dresses designed by Kirstie Kellylast year. Kelly, who had also previously designed wedding dresses for Walt Disney, has referred to her Costco wedding dresses as “CostCouture.”

Blushing brides-to-be don’t have to try on the gowns in between Costco’s warehouse aisles. The dresses have been sold through trunk shows held at Costco stores around the U.S. Women make appointments at the pop-up salons, which have been equipped with a changing room and lounge, as well as a bridal consultant for assistance.

Dresses in Costco’s Signature collection cost between $650 and $1,400 — 40 percent off retail — though the prices for some have since been slashed further. The budget-conscious bride has her pick of 12 designs, a mix of the customary lace, silk organza, satin, and taffeta gowns.

Related: Box Store Weddings

Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label 15 Liter
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Costco price: $1,899.99Available only at Northwest Costco stores, this is bottle of champagne should be popped open for a particularly special occasion. It’s a very large bottle — equivalent to 20 regular bottles — and is hard to find. Similar ones retail elsewhere for more than $2,000 to $3,000 each. Founded in 1772 in Reims, France, Veuve Clicquot is known as one of the premiere labels of sparkling wine. It rose to prominence in the early 19th century at the hand of the young widow of Francois
Photo: Costco

Costco price: $1,899.99

Available only at Northwest Costco stores, this is bottle of champagne should be popped open for a particularly special occasion. It’s a very large bottle — equivalent to 20 regular bottles — and is hard to find. Similar ones retail elsewhere for more than $2,000 to $3,000 each.

Founded in 1772 in Reims, France, Veuve Clicquot is known as one of the premiere labels of sparkling wine. It rose to prominence in the early 19th century at the hand of “Madame Clicquot,”the young widow of Francois Clicquot and a pioneering business woman.

Nicole Miller Dolman Day Dress
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Sam’s Club Price: $13.98
Photo: Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club price: $13.98

Designer Nicole Miller has appeared on the popular fashion reality show “Project Runway” and celebrities such as Fergie and Heather Graham have been frequently photographed in her dresses. While the designer is known for her cocktail and evening gowns, which can cost upwards of $1,000 at retailers such as Nordstrom and Nieman Marcus, fashionistas can also scoop up casual dresses designed by Nicole Miller exclusively for Wal-Mart’sSam’s Club for the low price of $13.98.

Dyson DC40 Animal Bagless Upright Vacuum
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Costco price: $489.99Only available at Costco, this premium vacuum cleaner promises to suck up pesky animal fur and other dirt with ease and Dyson’s trademark ball. Not a Costco member? There’s a similar one that’s slightly larger and more powerful. But the retails for $599.99, $100 more than the Costco one.
Photo: Dyson

Costco price: $489.99

Only available at Costco, this premium vacuum cleaner with Dyson’s trademark ball promises to suck up pesky animal fur and other dirt with ease.

Not a Costco member? There’s a similar one that’s slightly larger and more powerful, but the DC41 Animal Upright Vacuumretails for $599.99, $100 more than the Costco model.

Ugg Australia
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BJ’s Wholesale Club Price: Up to 30 percent offMade popular by Cameron Diaz and other Hollywood celebrities, Ugg Australia tends to command luxury prices of up to $800 a pair at its boutique shops and retailers such as Nordstrom. But at BJ’s, shoe mavens can snag certain styles of the popular footware for up to 30 percent off regular retail. BJ's says it has sold the traditional long and short Ugg boot (example, pictured left), the "Cardy" boot and the short "Adirondack" boot.Ugg Australia told
Photo: Alex Moss | FilmMagic | Getty Images

BJ’s Wholesale Club price: Up to 30 percent off

Made popular by Cameron Diaz and other Hollywood celebrities, Ugg Australia tends to command luxury prices of up to $800 a pair at its boutique shops and retailers such as Nordstrom. But at BJ’s, shoe mavens can snag certain styles of the popular footwear for up to 30 percent off regular retail. BJ's says it has sold the traditional long and short Ugg boot (example, pictured left), the "Cardy" boot, and the short "Adirondack" boot.

Ugg Australia told CNBC, "UGG does not and never has sold to the discount locations" such as BJ's or Costco. "If product has been found in such locations, it is either counterfeit or diverted stock."

When asked for comment, a BJ's spokeperson told CNBC its Uggs items are not counterfeit.

Jack Daniels Single Barrel
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Costco price: $7,890Costco sold two Jack Daniels barrels — that is, 40 cases, or 240 bottles of the popular Tennessee whiskey — in Arizona.  The two members who purchased it received all the whiskey that came from the barrel, the empty barrel and a special plaque. 
Photo: Costco

Costco price: $7,890

Costco sold two Jack Daniels barrels — that is, 40 cases, or 240 bottles of the popular Tennessee whiskey — in Arizona.

The two members who purchased it received all the whiskey that came from the barrel, the empty barrel, and a special plaque.

“The Costco Craze”
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Costco's 64 million members pay for the privilege to buy. CNBC takes you inside a cultural icon where bargains add up to billions in revenue.• • • • •

Costco’s 64 million members pay for the privilege to buy. CNBC takes you inside a cultural icon where bargains add up to billions in revenue.

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