The disappointing outlook for 2009 is prompting many retailers of luxury items to shift their marketing plans back to their wealthiest and most loyal customers, which means a heavy emphasis on service. "I really think the foundation of luxury is customer service -- that is what we are hearing," said Cori Galpern, worldwide marketing and advertising director for Tom Ford International. "I think what we'll see because of the economic crisis is that you lose a certain amount of that aspiration customer. ... The core for a luxury brand is a customer with very considerable wealth."

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