Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The MO Down - New Blog Address, read on....

MO Luxury is excited to announce the new look of our daily blog, The MO Down.

Still your number one destination for daily updates on what is happening within the luxury industry...

The MO Down is now also directly accessible through our website, at:

Be sure to save this new link in your favourites!

We look forward to your feedback and interaction and wish you a joyous festive season and want to thank you for following us!

Warm regards,

The MO Luxury team

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Hermes Prepares to Strike Back Against LVMH Empire... 07/12/10

The situation at Hermes is keeping us fascinated here at the MO Down. Following up on our recent coverage, the Dumas family met on Friday (December 3) to discuss their battle strategy. For those of you just tuning in, we are of course referring to the recent controversy that arose when LVMH revealed its ownership of a 17.1 per cent stake in Hermes. It was quite an unwelcome surprise to the family-owned Hermes, which is now faced with the possibility of a gradual takeover. The Dumas family aren’t happy, and to be honest, neither are many people. Hermes shares fell 9.3 per cent on Friday, and something tells us this was no coincidence.

Currently, the Puech, Guerrand and Dumas families own a combined stake of 73 per cent– no one is taking over anything without their permission. However, the families are hunting for a strategy to allow them to sell shares as needed, without allowing LVMH boss Monsieur Arnault to increase his holding. Hermes is not keen to join the family owned brands that have fallen to the conglomerate. It stands firm as a house of artisans, before businesspeople. Several schemes are in the works at the moment, and we will bring more as soon as we hear…

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Monday, 6 December 2010

Online Stores to Target Chinese Market 06/12/10

Turns out Armani aren’t the only luxury brand appealing to the Chinese market via online shopping. Last week, The MO Down reported on the launch of the Emporio Armani store, and shares have since risen 2.17 per cent, outperforming the market. It seems there are many more to follow in 2011, with Italian online fashion retailer Yoox (yoox.mi) planning to bring some of the most exclusive fashion brands to China next year. Yoox powers sites for 23 fashion groups (including Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana) and announced last week that it intends to open several online stores in China in the first half of 2011. China is expected to become the world’s number one market for luxury goods in the next five years (currently the world’s number two, with 2009 sales of $9.4 billion) All luxury eyes are on China at the moment, and the race is on.

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Thursday, 2 December 2010

Hermes Opens Brisbane Flagship... 03/12/10

In spite of all the recent controversy, and a potentially imminent LVMH takeover, Hermes is fighting fit with the opening of the hotly anticipated flagship in Brisbane city. The store opened December 1, as forecast, making the third boutique for Hermes in Queensland (one at Surfers Paradise, and the other at Marina Mirage). Bringing a total of five stores altogether in Australia (Sydney and Melbourne each have a flagship), it seems that the highly coveted orange has developed quite a presence Down Under…

With all the hype, we practically heard the stilettos making for the doors of the new Hermes store all the way from The MO Down offices in Sydney. And we won’t lie, we are disappointed we couldn’t have been there. Complete with Birkins, Kellys, and among many favourites, cashmere throws, enamel bangles and exquisite silk scarves, the store is yet another example of luxury’s evasion of economic downturn. Luxury is made to last, and no brand knows that more than Hermes. Its pride at creating art, not consumer goods, is a significant part of its refusal to be taken over by a conglomerate like LVMH. Fads and fashions will come and go, but true luxury, like Hermes, is for life. All we want for Christmas is...

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Cartier Bracelet Breaks Records At Sotheby's Auction... 02/12/11

A diamond and onyx panther bracelet by Cartier sold for £4.5 million ($7 million) last week, a Sotheby’s and auction record for Cartier (and bracelets, for that matter!). The Sotheby’s auction sold over 20 pieces owned by the late Duke and Duchess of Windsor, raising a total of £8 million. Cartier is certainly one of the world’s most highly regarded jewellers, and this reminder of their rich heritage is nicely timed with their recent expansion. The MO Down reported earlier this week that Cartier are busily opening stores, making a concerted effort to enter the highly lucrative Chinese market in style.

David Bennet, chairman of Sotheby’s jewellery in Europe and the Middle East attributed the sale’s record-breaking success to the strength of the broader gem market. We suspected as much. International demand for precious gems is up, and rising still with an increasingly insatiable Asian appetite.

Also sold at a record price was a ruby, sapphire, emerald and diamond flamingo clip for £1.7 million pounds. The entire collection sold for £31 million, more than seven times the expected amount. The most valuable single-owner jewellery sale ever, we can’t help but envy you slightly Mrs. Windsor…

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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Armani Latest Luxury Brand to Embrace Online Shopping... 01/12/10

Online is revolutionising retail, and it’s not just for mass-market brands. The MO Down has had much to say on this topic, last week we spoke at length about the relative reluctance of luxury brands to embrace this new domain, and the potential ramifications for sales. Slowly but surely, brands are hopping on the online bandwagon. This week’s medal goes to Armani.

Armani has developed a two-birds-with-one-stone strategy, launching a new online store targeted specifically for China. It’s one of the first luxury initiatives of its kind in China, and we are impressed. Chinese online shopping increased 117 per cent last year, and we don’t need to reiterate the increasing significance of the Chinese market to the luxury industry. Armani is the first fashion house to offer a ‘flagship shopping experience’ online, and to do so in China… This will almost certainly be a success. From a strategic and marketing perspective, it is a very interesting time to be in luxury. We are noticing all kinds of attempts at engaging consumers, and it is exciting to realise that the future of brand loyalty may well be won and lost online.

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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Hermes Moves to Counteract LVMH Takeover 30/11/10

Following up on the Hermes/LVMH debacle, the most recent news from Bloomberg is that Hermes has called a ‘round table’ with the Dumas family to develop a strategy to tackle the large, and not so quiet, monogrammed elephant in the room. For those of you just tuning in, the MO Down has been following LVMH’s sudden acquisition of Hermes shares, amounting to 17 per cent. The surprise revelation a few weeks ago has sparked rumours of a hostile takeover, and led to speculation that a third party may be needed to keep Hermes in the family.

It seems the most recent options include a shareholder pact or the creation of a non-listed holding, company grouping together to protect the descendants’ shares. Recently, the MO Down suggested that luxury conglomerate Richemont might come to the party. Reuters suggests that other institutional friends such as BNP Paribas Bank, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch might help out… At times like this, Hermes needs its friends, so it will be interesting to see if someone, and if so, who, can save the day…

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Who's behind the MO DOWN

Melinda O’Rourke is the founder and Director of MO Luxury, a dynamic, Sydney-based management firm specialising in luxury brands and services. Melinda and her associates at MO work with local and international brands across prestige retail, fashion, fine jewellery, timepieces and specialised services. Melinda is well-connected, well-read, and well-versed in the demands of the luxury market and its client base. Her advice is firmly based in objectivity and ultimately, accountability. Melinda offers constructive counsel and both strategic and creative thinking and is able to draw upon a strong network of specialised talent to compliment the MO Luxury team as needed. Melinda enjoys excellent industry relationships and is regularly quoted in the business and fashion media. Read more about MO Luxury,