Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 15, 2013 10:07 AM
Swatch Group's new year surprise — that it's paying $1 billion to acquire the luxury unit of Harry Winston Diamond Corp. — is making observers beyond the jewelry business watch both brands more closely.
Canada's Harry Winston Diamond Corp.’s $1 billion sale ($750 million plus $250 million in debt) of its luxury business to Switzerland's Swatch Group AG provides the cash for Winston to invest more in diamond mining, a business that last year was more than twice as profitable as jewelry.
Shares in Toronto-based Harry Winston rose 4.4 percent on Monday after the deal was announced. The high-end company's chairman and CEO, Robert Gannicott, told The Globe and Mail that the company planning will use the cash to focus primarily on mining after eight years as a luxury jewelry brand. His plan: purchase the 60 percent stake of the Diavik mine it doesn’t already own from Rio Tinto Group.
In addition to Winston exiting the luxe jewelry-selling business, the deal will have an impact on Swatch Group's (relatively) cheap and cheerful Swatch brand.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 3, 2013 11:12 AM
Nespresso has been riding the home barista trend, as consumers and gift-givers shelled out about $600 for counter-top coffee makers this holiday season.
But what to do with those crushed capsules? One enterprising idea is seeing them used as the basis for a handmade, custom timepiece as part of the Grand Cru collection produced by high-end watchmaker Blancier. At least you'll always know when it's time for a coffee.
it may sound crazy, but the idea didn’t come from an overly caffeinated designer at the German-owned Blancier, which specializes in customized watchmaking and has offered weekend DIY workshops. In fact, it was Blancier co-owner Willem Kamerman who thought of the idea while standing in line at a Nespresso boutique, according to Watchpro.
"We don't reuse the cups; we turn the waste into something more attractive and valuable,” Kamerman commented. “We move up the chain. Every time you look at the watch you're made aware that you don't have to throw everything away."Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on December 6, 2012 11:01 AM
Next year is shaping up to be mixed, at best, for luxury goods. Continuing economic woes in the Eurozone, a flagging Japanese economy, and slow recovery in the U.S. will likely lead to modest spending on luxury brands in those regions.
At a recent fashion summit in Florence, Italy, luxury designers were downbeat. Michele Norsa, CEO of Salvatore Ferragamo, the Italian shoemaker, said: "Markets are very volatile. We must keep a cool head and define our forecasts day by day. ...The first part of the year will be slower. In the second part there will probably be a recovery. These are the signs we are receiving from all our markets." Michele Tronconi, the head of Sistema Moda Italia (SMI), Italy's fashion body, added, "Orders of goods to be delivered in the coming months have shrunk and I don't expect this trend to change soon."
Indeed, Italy is a microcosm of Europe's slide when it comes to luxury goods. Luca Solca, who heads luxury goods research at the Exane BNP Paribas investment group said Italy's luxury goods sales have taken an "abrupt hit" due to the country's austerity measures. Sales of luxury goods are expected to decline nearly 1 billion euros by year's end in Italy despite solid tourism. Globally, sales of luxury goods should grow about 5 percent in 2012 vs. 13 percent last year according to a report by consulting firm Bain & Co.Continue reading...
Posted by Andrew Chan on December 3, 2012 12:56 PM
Burberry has opened its second largest store in North America, and while its new Chicago store may not be quite on the scale of its relaunched London flagship, it was feted with a unique local event that continued its theme of "retail as theater" and meshing digital, entertainment and fashion in one seamless experience. The store also boasts its first beauty consultation counter in North America.
The luxury brand's Chief Creative Officer, Christopher Bailey, hosted the Nov. 29 opening as a celebration of the Windy City, showcasing the city's iconic landmarks and creative community through the brand's digital platform, Art of the Trench. Music for the evening was provided by British musician Carl Barat from the Libertines, who performed a live set, followed by DJ Matt Roan. Guests at the event included actors Charlie Barnett, Billy Zane and Alex Holden, American former football player Jerry Azumah, DJ Kid Color, artist JC Steinbrunner.
According to Luxury Daily, "Burberry is partnering with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to bring $2.2 million in funding to the Chicago Hive Learning Network to celebrate this store opening. The funding will go toward inspiring young people in Chicago and creating innovative educational experiences."
Posted by Barry Silverstein on November 14, 2012 11:12 AM
Luxury brands can take some comfort from at least one new forecast. Luxury spending is poised to make a comeback next year in the US — but on a modest scale, according to the Luxury Shopping Survey, just published by Accenture.
Of the more than 2,000 U.S. adults surveyed, half of them said they are likely to make a "small" luxury purchase in the next six months. What categories would move them from "likely" to "definitely"? The items they indicated they're ready to splurge on include specialty food or drinks (53 percent of respondents), luxury clothing (48 percent) and luxury personal care products (48 percent). More than half (57 percent) intend to purchase luxury apparel that they could mix into their everyday wardrobe.
"Consumers want a taste of luxury in their everyday lives, and are willing to spend a little extra for the experience, but the emphasis is on small items," commented Tom Jacobson, managing director of the Accenture Pricing & Profit Optimization practice. "They may think twice about purchasing a new handbag, but shop for a wallet as an alternative."Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on November 14, 2012 10:01 AM
Prada has launched its first mobile app, an extension of a visual partnership with fashion illustrator Richard Haines — a major digital move for the Italian fashion label, one that it describes as the culmination of "a multi-platform project combining hand-made artistry and cutting-edge technology."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 11, 2012 05:25 PM
Remember the UK's swinging Cool Britannia nation branding effort under Prime Minister Tony Blair? Now Mulberry is looking to revive pride in all things British with its just-launched Brilliant Britain Guide.
Sub-titled "a guide to a truly great nation," it's a branded content marketing move to continue the celebratory year that 2012 represents for the United Kingdom, from the Queen's Diamond Jubilee to a successful Olympics and Paralympics (despite Mitt Romney’s concerns). Could there be a better year to be a Brit?Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 3, 2012 12:06 PM
A once-in-a-decade occurrence in China, the overlap of Chinese National Day and the Mid-Autumn Lunar Festival, is giving Chinese consumers a rare eight-day period with no work or family obligations. As a result, Chinese tourists are traveling in China and flocking to other areas, including Hong Kong (now in mourning following a ferry crash that killed 38 holiday revelers) and Europe.
While less than three percent of the Chinese have a passport, that number is rising 20 percent each year, according to Reuters. That means the current travel period is likely to be dwarfed by long-term prospects for Chinese tourism. It's true that China's economy has slowed along with the domestic appetite for luxury, but a segment of the population is decidedly well-heeled, and they still love to travel and shop.
It's certainly not stopping brands from pushing ahead in China — Louis Vuitton recently opened a flagship in Shanghai, and Ralph Lauren just opened five stores in China in the past two weeks, as David Lauren, the brand's EVP of Advertising, Marketing & Corporate Communications, told the New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin in a discussion at the Interbrand/New York Stock Exchange 2012 Executive Marketing Summit on Tuesday.Continue reading...