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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...

luxury watch

Nespresso Crush? Used Coffee Capsules Now Upcycled as Watches

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...

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Luxury Spending A Moving Target for 2013

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...

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Burberry's New Chicago Store Brings 'Retail as Theater' to Windy City

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."

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For US Luxury Shoppers, Small is Big and Quality Trumps Brand Names

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...

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Il Palazzo: Prada Launches First Mobile App as Virtual Gallery

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...

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