Although this will be a tough holiday season for millions of Americans still caught in the recession's clutches, no matter how bad the economy is some people always have a good year. The most fortunate of those have spent their entire lives having one good year after another. And they can afford to splurge.
With that in mind, 24/7 Wall St visited a number of stores and interviewed store managers at large retailers to find their most expensive gifts. Some of the stores, like Tiffany, count the superrich among their regular customers. Others, such as Radio Shack, cater to the middle class. Many of the merchants on this list have customer groups that overlap, and some sell nothing that costs more than a few hundred dollars. But here (in ascending order of cost) is what you'll find on the top shelves of this all-American dozen.
12) TOYS 'R' US
Category: Toy Store
Item: Power Wheels Black Hybrid Escalade
Built to mimic the look of the expensive SUV, the Power Wheels Black Hybrid Escalade, is one expensive toy. Complex in its design and finish as a functioning minicar, the Power Wheels Escalade is priced at $379.99, and in-store assembly will add $25 to its sticker.
Jordan Leather Jacket
Although the flagship Nike store has a wide range of pricey shoes, including the $400 Mercurial Vapor soccer cleats, its most expensive item is the Michael Jordan leather jacket, which currently costs $500. On the more modest side are Niketown's wristbands, which sell for $6.
10) ABERCROMIE & FITCH
Specialty Retail Chain
Rollins Men's Leather Jacket
Abercrombie & Fitch has maintained a certain level of popularity for a number of years by selling moderately priced clothes to youthful customers. The company does feature a more upscale side, however, as illustrated by its $600 Rollins leather jacket for men.
Discount Consumer Electronics
RadioShack is usually better-suited for people looking to buy small electronic products than luxury items. This may be slowly changing, however, as the stores start offering more expensive goods. Currently, the costliest item is the 32-GB iPhone 4, priced at $700.
8) APPLE STORE
Specialty Consumer Electronics
Speaking of Apple, the most expensive item in the tech icon's ever-popular Apple Store is the dual 2.4-GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Westmere" Mac Pro, priced at $3,499. Customers can improve this powerhouse's specs by adding to its memory and graphics, which plumps up its price even more.
7) BEST BUY
SunBrite TV 55-Inch Outdoor LCD HDTV
Although it's not Best Buy's largest TV, the SunBrite TV 55-Inch Outdoor LCD HDTV is both its most expensive TV and costliest item overall. The 1080p, 120-Hz set has an extremely high picture quality. It sports a water-resistant design that protects against rain, dirt and insects, for customers who wish to watch Animal Planet while surrounded by nature.
6) RALPH LAUREN
Ralph Lauren is a classic brand that often likes to dip its toes in ultra-luxury. That's apparent in the company's pricey accessories, which include a $20,000 alligator bag. The reason for this lofty price: Alligator leather is far less common than other types, and it requires a more involved development process.
Department Store Chain
Golden Sable Fur Coat
One of Macy's most posh in-store shops is "The Fur Vault," the department store's section for animal pelt products. The most notable item there is a golden sable fur coat (photo unavailable -- but trust us, it's a beauty), priced at just under $40,000. An extremely high price for extremely high-quality fur.
Big Box Retail Chain
5.11-carat diamond ring
Costco is known for bulk and bargains. As a result, it may be surprising to hear that the store features a 5.11-carat diamond ring that costs nearly $200,000. The solitaire ring is on display in Costco's New York City store. However, information on its availability can be found online.
3) FAO SCHWARZ
The Big Piano
Taking the toy market toward extreme extravagance is FAO Schwarz. Many people recognize it from the 1988 film Big, and the store still features a giant floor piano, like the one that plays a prominent role in the film. Today's piano, which is actually bigger than the one in Big, can be purchased for a whopping $250,000, due to its size and technical sophistication.
Luxury Watch Retailer
Breguet Double Tourbillon
Although overall watch sales have dropped during the last few years, sales of luxury watches have remained consistent. That's good news for stores like Tourneau, which reap big bucks by selling luxo-watches such as the Double Tourbillon, which is made by Breguet. This complex timepiece is Tourneau's most expensive, featuring a clock-stopping price of $402,000.
Luxury Jewelry Retail
The Tiffany Majestic necklace
Tiffany is, of course, chock-full with a number of dearly priced items. The most impressive is the Tiffany Majestic necklace, which costs $12 million (yes, million). This piece comprises over 300 stones and features a 30.31-carat diamond. It's not Tiffany's most valuable item, however. That honor belongs to the legendary 184-carat Tiffany Yellow Diamond. The store puts its value as "priceless."