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Luxury Brands Get Behind Travel Revival with New Products, Experiences

Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 9, 2013 11:22 AM

US consumers seem temporarily frozen in place due to a Federal government shutdown, but that isn't stopping some of the world's best known luxury brands from planning for a rebound of the luxury travel market.

British luxury fashion brand Burberry, for example, has just launched "Travel Tailoring" via a global digital campaign. The new menswear line includes suits with "innovative lightweight construction, lightweight shoulder construction," and "naturally flexible fabrics," according to the company. A "memory fabric" (100 percent merino wool) is designed to resist creasing. Intended for the luxury traveler on the go, the line comes with an equally high-end price: suits start at $1,995, while blazers begin at $1,295. Burberry is no stranger to innovation though when it comes to combining fashion and technology, as it most recently caused a stir by partnering with Apple during its iPhone 5S launch for Fashion Week.Continue reading...

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Luxury Auto Brands Increasingly Turn to Designers to Fashion Lifestyle Brands

Posted by Barry Silverstein on September 25, 2013 03:52 PM

Luxury auto brands are well aware that their target audience is the upscale, discriminating buyer with disposable income—the same buyer, in fact, who is attracted to the high-end fashion world and who wants an increasingly personalized, exclusive retail experience.

That's why the latest trend has luxury auto brands expanding into retail—even putting their brand names on non-automotive luxury products.

Bugatti, for example, unveiled an exclusive apparel and accessories collection last week at Milan Fashion Week consisting of two lines, "Ettore Bugatti," carrying an "EB" monogram, and "Extreme Performance," carrying the Bugatti logo. Included in the collection is an exclusive blue crocodile skin handbag for women, the shape of which is said to be inspired by the Bugatti's front grille. Bugatti will open as many as 35 exclusive boutiques around the globe in the next five years to sell its collection. In addition, Bugatti introduced "Tailor Made/Bespoke" for customers only—an exclusive program in which custom-made branded products are created to a customer's specifications.Continue reading...

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Whether Charging Up Cars or Chilling Out Shoppers, Luxury-Auto Brands Innovate

Posted by Dale Buss on August 21, 2013 07:03 PM

One of the most hopeful signs for the long-term global automotive business is that car brands keep coming up with new ways to please wealthy buyers. These lures attain different levels depending on whether you're Ferrari, Tesla or Lexus, but each brand is demonstrating its bullishness with innovative ways of reaching their target demographics.

Ferrari, for example, plans to field more hybrid vehicles for the ultra-rich crowd in the wake of the success of its $1.3 million LaFerrari. The 963-horsepower hybrid, unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show in March, is already sold out under CEO Luca Cordero di Montezemolo's strategy of planned scarcity that boosts a product's cache—and profit margins.

"I don't believe in the electric cars, but I strongly believe in hybrids," Montezemolo told Bloomberg Television. Porsche and Land Rover also are easing into the hybrid business.Continue reading...

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LVMH Adds Luxurious Caribbean Property to Expanding Hospitality Portfolio

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 6, 2013 02:43 PM

There's a new hotel brand coming to the Caribbean and you can bet the shops inside will be top-notch. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has bought a five-star hotel on the island of St. Barths and is planning to open others in Egypt, Oman, and the Maldives as well as in Paris and Milan. The latter will be right next to Prada’s store. To get to the brand's 45 private villas in the Maldives, guests will have to fly in on a seaplane, Warc reports

LVMH, like many luxury retail brands, is looking to expand its portfolio in order to give its high-end clientele a full, luxurious experience, from clothing and accessories to dining and travel accomodations. As London-based consultant Laura Ford of Futurebrand tells Warc, the company would like "to own the whole spectrum, to have a 360-degree view on what the customer is doing, what they are buying, what they are eating, where they are staying."Continue reading...

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Chase Caters to High-End Services with Sapphire Preferred Rewards Card

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 24, 2013 06:45 PM

In a world of rewards programs, Chase is making waves thanks to its multi-faceted Sapphire Preferred Rewards Card, which lets consumers rack up points for hotels and airlines, dining, special experiences and other amenities all on one piece of plastic. 

“Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) rewards people for what they love,” Jeff Bedard, marketing director of Chase Sapphire Preferred, told brandchannel. “Since it launched in 2009, the card has been built around passion points, what’s important to the affluent consumer—travel and dining and their purchases are rewarded with two-times the points."

The card, which isn't meant for everyday purchases like gas and groceries, caters to a higher-end clientele looking for exceptional service and experiences.Continue reading...

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New York Looking to Hold Buyers More Accountable in the War Against Counterfeit Luxury Goods

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 13, 2013 01:54 PM

New York City loses $1 billion a year in tax money thanks to counterfeit goods being sold on its streets. At least that’s what one City Council member is saying to help promote her bill that would have police arresting those who buy the products as well as the those who sell them, according to the Associated Press.

The plan, which will be addressed at a public meeting on Thursday and is expected to come to vote in the next few months, is to have the buyers of fake Pradas, Chanels and other luxury goods either fined $1,000 or put in jail for a year.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration is planning to oppose the bill, the New York Post reports, because the size of the fine would keep tourists from buying pretty much anything. Plus, it wouldn’t be good PR to have images of tourists in jail floating around.Continue reading...

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Luxury Brands Seeing Steady Global Growth

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 21, 2013 10:16 AM

Luxury is back at the forefront of fashion and lifestyle despite the still shaky worldwide economy.

Findings from the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend, show gains in brand equity across 155 categories from auto makers to department stores across three key criteria: Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration.

"This may show that after a number of years spent tightening their belts, consumers are looking to the quality and value they feel these brands provide,” said Aron Galonsky, SVP Brand and Communication Consulting at Harris Interactive.

Mercedes-Benz took top honors in the Luxury Automotive brand category for the third consecutive year, with Acura (which takes on uber-luxury in its latest US TV commercial, below), Audi, BMW, Infiniti and Land Rover receiving their highest scores ever. Harley-Davidson got its highest score in the study's 25-year history regaining top spot as Motorcycle Brand of the Year.Continue reading...

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Why Swatch is Mad About Harry, and Why Winston is Exiting the Luxury Biz

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...

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