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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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Mulberry Fosters National Pride With "Brilliant Britain"

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...

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What Luxury Turndown? Chinese Still Shopping, Brands Still Bullish on China

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...

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Prada Defies Luxury Brand Hand-Wringing in China

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 25, 2012 05:16 PM

The most populated country in the world has been, until recently, perceived to be a hotbed of conspicuous consumption. Luxury brands rushed in to fill the void and make a bundle. Vuitton, Prada, Burberry — you name it, you could buy it in China. And consumers were happy to show off their ability to buy.

But suddenly things have changed. The tap has been turned off and many of the luxury brands of the West that flooded China are now sitting and waiting for consumers to get back into the spending mood again. With all the consternation over Burberry's lull in its China growth, it's easy for luxury to get rattled.

Prada, however, is trying to keep its investors, employees and calm about what's going on in the Mainland. "I think we must stay calm and be less hysterical. I don't see such a dramatic market," commented Patrizio Bertelli, Prada’s CEO, according to Reuters. "We think that considering all markets at the same level is wrong. We must accept markets' diversity and adapt to different needs and traditions." In effect, Keep Calm and Brand On.Continue reading...

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Chanel Loses Suit to Former Supplier

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 20, 2012 12:38 PM

The Chanel brand and knitwear company World Tricot used to be pals. Tricot is a former supplier of the Paris-based fashion house, but things went sour back in 2009 when Tricot accused Chanel of wrongfully terminating their business relationship and for “copying one of its designs,” according to British Vogue.

A lawsuit ensued, naturellement, and Chanel now must pay over 200,000 euros ($263,000) as a result of a ruling issued by the Paris Court of Appeals — not a huge amount, to be sure, especially as Tricot had originally sought $4.7 million for breach of contract and counterfeiting.

An attorney for Chanel said at the time that Tricot was just looking for PR, according to Vogue, but Chanel execs, who've been reminding fans this year about the iconic little black jacket, are likely singing a different tune these days.

"This is the first time that we have faced this type of situation, although we work with close to 400 suppliers," said Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel fashion, Vogue reports. "This very specific case is in no way reflection of the quality of our relations with our suppliers."Continue reading...

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