Friday, 30 April 2010

PPR’s Revenue Rose 1.2 Percent – 30/4/10

The luxury industry seems to be on a high, with PPR announcing that their first quarter revenue has increased by 1.2 percent, due to strong sales of its Gucci and Bottega Venetta brands, especially in China.

PPR, which sold its African distribution business CFAO last year to refocus on its luxury and lifestyle businesses, said revenue rose to €4.13 billion (AU$5.9 billion) from €4.08 billion (AU$5.83 billion) a year earlier.

Revenue at its Gucci Group subsidiary, which contains brands like Yves Saint Laurent as well as its namesake Gucci brand, rose 4.7 percent to €894.8 million (AU$1,278 billion), with a gain of 9.5 percent at Bottega Veneta.

PPR’s CEO, Francois-Henri Pinault, said he expects PPR to "deliver a healthy progression in operating and financial performances in 2010."

Click here to read more at Business Week.

Image courtesy of It shows Francois-Henri Pinault

Louis Vuitton Wins Big In The Brand Value Survey – 30/4/10

Q: What is the world’s most valuable luxury brand?

A: Louis Vuitton - according to a survey by market research firm Millward Brown Optimor (as discussed in The Luxist).

LV was followed by: Hermes, Gucci, Chanel and Hennessy.

We thought this was a particularly interesting article. Brand values are often debated amongst marketing and financial management as to whether an intangible asset, such as a brand, should go on the financial statements. At the MO Down, we know the power some of the brands hold, but it was still eye-opening to see Louis Vuitton with a brand value of nearly $19.8 billion. Now that is a serious asset...

For more discussion on ‘brand as an asset’, see our earlier article: Luxury Branding 101.

Image courtesy of the Luxist.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Giorgio Armani’s Hotel Is Open For Business – 29/4/10

Finally, Giorgio Armani’s hotel in Dubai has been unveiled. Its launch was postponed last week due to the volcanic ash (see our earlier report).

The hotel, Armani’s first, occupies eight floors of the Burj Khalifa, which is the world’s tallest building. Almost no expense has been spared on the 160-room hotel, which boasts eight restaurants, a spa and three retail outlets.

The project, a joint venture between Giorgio Armani SpA and Emaar Properties, is the first in a planned collection of hotels, resorts and residences.

Speaking to WWD at the opening, Armani said, “Yesterday when I arrived and saw the hotel, I felt really emotional. After five years of working on this project on paper and sketches, I finally saw how it all came to life.”

Click here to see a slideshow of images of the hotel.

Image courtesy of WWD. It shows Armani at his new hotel.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Tamara Mellon Has A New Title At Jimmy Choo – 28/4/10

According to WWD, Mellon has been named Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Jimmy Choo, a change from her previous title as Founder and President of the luxury footwear label.

The company said Mellon’s role will remain the same, overseeing brand image, including product design, public relations and advertising campaigns.

Joshua Schulman, CEO at Jimmy Choo, said, “Today’s announcement acknowledges the important contribution that Tamara makes to our brand image and design process. The new title is a better reflection of Tamara’s many responsibilities and accomplishments at Jimmy Choo.”

This promotion follows the major media meltdown last week when naked pictures of Mellon emerged with a kitten covering her private parts. Click here for our full report.

Image credit: London Evening Standard. Shows Mellon.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Counterfeit Goods Cleanup Worth $240 Million – 27/4/10

During a 30-city, 2 month counterfeit “spring clean,” U.S. officials have seized US$240 million of pirated goods. Serious spring cleaning indeed...

In 2009, the largest seizure was US$26 million and the entire year saw a total of US$260 million. So the result of the recent spring clean is incredibly impressive and 'should' send a strong message to those who make it their business to pirate goods.

Who's responsible?
According to this Wall Street Journal article: "Chinese criminal gangs are the biggest purveyors of fake goods in the U.S., accounting for about 80%, by value, of the counterfeit goods seized last year.

What’s most popular?
Footwear tops the list of fake goods, followed by consumer electronics, luxury goods and pharmaceutical products."

We said it in April, when scientific research concluded “Fake Goods Can Equal Fake People,” but we want our message to be loud and clear - FAKES are for FRAUDS - Say NO to FAKES!

Image courtesy of The Fashion Row.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Luxury Goods Makers Can Block Online Retailers Thanks To The E.U. – 26/4/10

The European Commission ruled last week that suppliers of luxury goods will be able to block retailers, like eBay and Amazon, which only sell products on the Internet.

According to The New York Times, “Under the rules, makers of goods that have less than a 30 percent share of the market would essentially have a free hand to decide how to distribute and sell their wares.“

In a summary of the rules, which go into force in June and last for 12 years, the commission said “suppliers should normally be free to decide on the number and type of distributors they want to have in their distribution systems.” It added: “More generally, suppliers may only want to sell to distributors that have one or more physical points of presence (‘brick and mortar’ presence) where the suppliers’ goods can be touched, smelled, tried, etc.”

It’s early days yet, but these rules seem to be a victory for companies like LVMH, who have been in an ongoing war with eBay (see our earlier report for details). As Guy Salter from the European Alliance (a group representing luxury goods associations like LVMH, Gucci and Burberry) said, it is important that “the quality, service and authenticity of luxury products will be maintained.”

Image courtesy of

Faberge To Launch A Second, More Conventional Collection - 26/4/10

Last month, we revealed that the part owners of Faberge, Pallinghurst Resources, have returned to profit. Now we read the newly revived jewellery brand will be producing a collection of more conventional jewellery.

Brian Gilbertson, Chairman of private equity firm Pallinghurst Resources that owns about half of Faberge, said in a National Post article, “The second collection is slightly more conventional. If you walk up the street and look in the windows, it would be closer to that.”

Gilbertson declined to say how many of the initial collection of 132 pieces have been sold, but said there have been sales throughout the world.

Interesting points to note in this article is that Faberge’s strategic brand renewal has both modern and vintage, a.k.a. retro, elements. For instance, in the vintage Faberge corner, we have the trunk shows "where the company's namesake Peter Carl Faberge operated by setting up in a top hotel and inviting clients to view his works." And, in the modern e-commerce corner, we have Faberge’s worldwide online boutique, which aims to lure the wealthy to its website then consummate sales with private showings. We’ll keep watching and waiting to see if this strategy works.

Image courtesy of the National Post.

Confucius Say... Chinese Market Is Now Second Largest Luxury Market in the World - 26/4/10

Several articles in the MO Down have been dedicated to the Chinese market's voracious and growing appetite for luxury goods. According to a great article in The Huffington Post, Tom Doctoroff, North Asia Area Director of JWT advertising firm answers a range of excellent questions about what Chinese consumers really want. And the layered understanding that needs to be grasped by luxury brands in this lucrative market.

With China now the second largest luxury market in the world, that is (1) an incredible achievement in a relatively small amount of time; and (2) the growth seems destined to continue given the rate of success being experienced by this country with entrepreneurship and a vast and increasing range of business ventures operating internally and being exported.

Luxury brands must be focused on where in the life cycle the luxury consumer is, "the guy on the top of the mountain and he's never secure of his position, so he wants to stay on top - [reaching him] is about mastery and connoisseurship. ...Then you have new luxury - men moving forwards, in the middle of their journey. Then you have independent women and then you have youth." The integrity and professionalism of the product needs to speak specifically to these people.

"According to TNS, 64% of Chinese think luxury brands denote success, and only 1% think they denote superficiality." This is significant and therefore points to strong aspiration to actually acquire luxury goods, whether that be an entry point pair of sunglasses or a belt, it is the connoisseurship of the brand and the message it sends to each of these consumer groups. This is how they will make their purchasing decision.

The same thread with any market - clearly understand and 'talk' specifically to your consumer. So simple to say, not so easy to do. As real estate agents say, location, location, we say, relationship, relationship....

Friday, 23 April 2010

Luxury News In Brief – 23/4/10

Jeweller Bulgari SpA was raised to “overweight” from “equal weight” at Morgan Stanley, which increased its target price to 7.50 euros. This is an encouraging development after our news earlier in the week that “Bulgari Watch Revenue Is Down, But Australian Sales Are Strong.”

Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (who own a 5 percent stake in Prada SpA) dropped 3.5 cents, or 1.3 percent, to 2.73 euros. Read more at Bloomberg.

Image credit:

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Coach’s Third Quarter Profits Rose 37 Percent – 22/4/10

Following the news on their expansion in France (see yesterday’s MO Down), Coach has announced a better-than-expected increase for their fiscal third-quarter profit.

According to Business Week, this sales increase was linked to their move to reduce their handbag prices, offering most styles under $US 300.00 - making Coach, in our eyes, a successful masstige brand.

Image courtesy of Coach’s official website.

Business Is Also Booming For Burberry – 22/4/10

Just like Coach (with their 37 percent profit increase), Burberry has also been flooded with customers.

We read in the Financial Times that "total revenues rose 6 percent to £707m in the six months to March 31, excluding currency movements. Sales from stores open at least a year rose 10 percent, with acceleration in the final quarter."

The brand’s finance director, Stacey Cartwright, suggested the expected underlying profit in the year to March 31 to be “slightly ahead” of forecasts.

This article also has some interesting musings, suggesting “there looks to be little rain on Burberry’s parade” (a clever play on words as their new collection is called April Showers and features capes, Wellingtons, umbrellas, etc.)

More importantly, the journalist concludes that, “Although the shares have doubled over the past year, the prospect for recovery, operational improvements and the possibility of a takeover as corporate activity comes back into vogue, could mean further potential..." We definitely concur.

Image courtesy of the Financial Times

Jimmy Choo’s Founder Bares All… Literally – 22/4/10

If Jimmy Choo’s Tamara Mellon posed nude, you’d expect her to be clad in an amazing pair of high heels. But we never imagined the kitten sitting in a provocative place. Hello Kitty! (blush!)

Click here to see what we’re talking about. You have to see this picture, by famed photographer Terry Richardson, to be fully in the loop.

You can also read more at NY Mag.

Image courtesy of It shows Tamara and Terry.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Coach Partners With Printemps For French Expansion – 21/4/10

Coach, a strong US prestige brand, is expanding beyond North America and Asia by partnering with French department store operator Printemps.

Talking exclusively to WWD, Coach reveals the first shop, a 1,700-square-foot location on the revamped main floor of Printemps’ luxurious Boulevard Haussmann flagship, is due to open in June.

Ian Bickley, Coach Inc.’s President of International, said “We’re a company that’s focused on growth, and obviously [Europe] is an untapped opportunity for us. We really see a multichannel distribution approach throughout the key western European markets.”

This is definitely an interesting move for Coach. Click here for our detailed analysis of Coach in our earlier report: Coach Is A Clear Winner In Tough Times.

Giorgio Armani And Ralph Lauren Left Stranded Due To Mother Nature – 21/4/10

It’s a case of the show 'cannot' go on... right now. The volcanic ash from Iceland has caused incredible disruption to millions of people, as Europe is currently a 'no fly zone'. Naturally, we’re concerned with the luxury folk who are stranded, from Frida, to Ralph and Giorgio, and many more in between.

According to WWD, Giorgio has postponed the launch of his first hotel in Dubai for the third time. A company spokeswoman said that the celebrations are now provisionally set for April 27.

Also, Ralph and 40 of his employees, in Paris last week to inaugurate his largest Polo Ralph Lauren store in Europe, are stranded in the French capital.

Meanwhile, Frida Giannini, Gucci’s creative director, wants to get from Rome to London to attend the opening of their new pop-up store.

Fingers crossed, the ‘Icelandic Ash’ lifts and the show can go on…

Image credit: Huffington Post, shows the Volcanic ash.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Bulgari Watch Revenue Is Down, But Australian Sales Are Strong – 20/4/10

Although the mood has been described as brighter for the luxury watch industry, Bulgari is said to be doing it tough.

We read in the Financial Times that the group fell to a net loss of €47.1m (US$63.9m) in 2009 from a profit of €82.9m in 2008. Sales of watches were down 24.5 percent, jewellery was down 14.4 percent, perfumes slid by 14.9 percent and accessories by 27.2 percent.

Bulgari’s CEO, Francesco Trapani, said he expects Bulgari to produce higher turnover this year, but “there will not be a real recovery before the second half of 2010 and, in terms of absolute value, it will not be back to the levels of 2007 before 2011-12”.

Trapani also said, “Customers are now more cautious and demanding in spending, and a logo is not enough any more to justify a high price.”

An interesting finding in this article was that “sales in directly owned stores were stronger in China, South Korea and Australia.” We thought it was good that Australia was mentioned as a positive performing country, as our results are often amalgamated into Asia Pacific results.

Ironically on the same day, we found an article in the Financial Times (entitled Swiss Watchmakers Wind Up For A Brighter Year) with more proof that watch exports are recovering. So perhaps things will also brighten for Bulgari, but then again, wasn't the CEO of Swatch Group recently rumoured to be eyeing the Italian brand for a potential buyout? (Click here for our earlier report).

Image credit:

Monday, 19 April 2010

Armani And Prada Unite Over The Milan Fashion Week Furore – 19/4/10

The houses of Armani and Prada have united (in opinion only) over the future of Milan Fashion Week, saying they will accept nothing less than a seven-day fashion week.

This development, discussed in a New York Fashion article, shows when competitors collaborate in a rarefied world, they exert power and receive appropriate attention.

Another example of when enemies become friends in the name of fashion was when France’s haute couture jewellers banded together in February in a joint bid to conquer lucrative emerging markets (click here to read our earlier report).

Image credit: It shows a Prada’s A/W 2010 Milan show.

Bain & Co. Says Wealthy Shoppers Are Spending Again – 19/4/10

According to research by U.S. consultancy Bain & Co, wealthy spenders are not just window shopping, they’re actually buying, which has resulted in an increased forecast of "global luxury sales by more than 4 percent this year."

Given global luxury sales were down by 8 percent in 2009 vs. the previous year, it still means that sales are forecast to be -4 percent vs. 2008, so there’s still some work to be done in our book. Fortunately, luxury good houses have the continued development of China and strong sales in Asia to thank, in addition to the strength of the other emerging parts of the ‘BRIC acronym’, namely Brazil, Russia and India.

In this study (as discussed by Reuters), "Bain predicted strong brands would benefit most from the upturn and weak brands suffering from cash problems would have to look for buyers or risk bankruptcy.”

Another key finding was that: "This polarization creates fertile conditions for market concentration. As mega-brands capture more market share, 2010 is likely to be a year when the search for capital triggers M&A and IPOs, and continued challenging conditions for lagging brands create ongoing risk for failures and bankruptcies." We agree with this. Click here for our earlier thoughts on the current status and possible future of luxury mergers and acquisitions.

Image credit:

Friday, 16 April 2010

A Former First Lady Joins LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Board - 16/4/10

We read overnight in WWD that wife of the former President of France, Monsieur Jacques Chirac, Bernadette, will join the board of directors of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. With an 82% vote in favour she is in.

Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH has interest in former politically aligned folk, given our earlier report on 14/1/10 regarding Tony Blair being tapped on the shoulder to join the Group. We are yet to understand both the reality and therefore totality of this appointment.

Politics and fashion or the fashion of politics are très à la mode en France.

Image credit: Le Figaro magazine front cover featuring Bernadette Chirac and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

Luxury News In Brief – 16/4/10

Christian Dior’s share price increased 2.4 percent due to 1st quarter revenue rises of 11.2 percent versus last year. The fashion company said revenue rose to 4.65 billion euros in the first quarter from 4.18 billion euros a year earlier. Pretty impressive! Click here to read more at Business Week.

More good news, Burberry shares gained 2.2 percent after Deutsche Bank raised its price target and kept its "buy" rating, citing "excellent" prospects and newsflow that will "remain robust.” This followed on from our report earlier in the week that Burberry shares had fallen 4 percent. Read more about Burberry’s current status at Reuters UK.

A new book on Versace by Deborah Ball, “House Of Versace: The Untold Story Of Genius, Murder And Survival,’’ is set to be released. What an intriguing title. According to the Boston Globe she is a credible journalist from the Wall Street Journal. We are securing a copy now and will provide our feedback ASAP.

Image credit: shows the Christian Dior building in Ginza, Japan.

Examining The Billionaires Behind The Luxury Brands – 16/4/10

We recommend you read this interesting article by Forbes, entitled “Who Is Getting Rich Off Your Shopping Sprees?”

In essence, it covers the high-end luxe brands in New York through to H&M and Apple... It mentions Bernard Arnault as “leading the charge” of the billionaires benefiting from shopping sprees - as the shares of the luxury house are up nearly 18 percent for the year and have more than doubled from their 2009 low, enough to boost Arnault's fortune by $11 billion and make him Europe's richest person for the first time.

If we put a local slant on this article, we wonder if perhaps George Street Sydney will be the new Fifth Avenue... with Bernard Arnault's Louis Vuitton mega flagship store on the corner of King and George Street slated for opening in 2011, right next door to Steven Job's existing Apple emporium on the other side of King and George Street. There are Myer and the QVB further up George Street, and then Burberry and Paspaley will be neighbours further down George Street, as one makes their way towards the Four Seasons Hotel, before you hit The Ivy coterie of commercial and branded boutiques. Don't "they" say, it really is "all about the mix" when you are shopping, there is clear methodology in these evolving luxury brand strategies for key destination positions.

Image: The Blacket Hotel Sydney (proposed new site for Louis Vuitton's Flagship Store) and Apple Retail Store both George Street Sydney

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Richemont’s IWC: A Standout Brand To Watch – 15/4/10

Today, we turn our luxury spotlight onto luxury watch company IWC.

What we like about this company is their innovation and "zealous" brand protection. We read in the Times Online that they released a weighty 4-kilo book last month to celebrate their history.

Another interesting revelation in this article is IWC’s male-skewed audience. It supposedly sells 70 percent of its watches to men.

Whilst speaking about the global economy, IWC CEO Georges Kern, said "The brands that are losing ground now are those with a loose image.” Kern believes brands that are successful are those with history, tradition, values, content and reassure consumers in terms of quality, with classic designs.

Kerns also recognises that more than anything, luxury is about selling a dream. He said, "We're storytellers. We have inspiring names and mythical products." Not that this is new news, most CEOs will roll out this passionate rhetoric, however the difference is those that 'do' and those that say but don't do. IWC is a 'doer' and therefore is a standout here.

Watch image courtesy of

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

LVMH Reports 11.3 Percent Rise In 1st Quarter Sales – 14/4/10 updated 16/4/10

LVMH has announced a forecast-beating 11.3 percent rise in comparable sales for the first quarter, helped by a strong rebound in the U.S. and Europe.

Although, in organic terms, meaning with like-for-like structure and at constant exchange rates, the revenue increase stood at 13 percent.

Shares in LVMH, the first major European luxury group to post first-quarter figures, jumped to 92.36 euros in high volume trade, their highest point since September 2000, and by 0722 GMT were still up 3.25 percent at 91.62 euros, the top French blue-chip gainer.

Also, shares in PPR which owns Gucci Group, were up 1.63 percent, and shares in Richemont were up 1 percent. Read more at Reuters.

Image credit: Shows Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

LVMH To Open Two More Cheval Blanc Hotels – 13/4/10

Earlier this month, we revealed LVMH’s plan to turn Paris’ former La Samaritaine department store into a hotel (see our April 6 report). Now, the luxury giant has confirmed it will open more Cheval Blanc luxury hotels.

According to The Independent, LVMH plans to launch two further luxury hotels in Egypt and Oman in 2012. The existing Cheval Blanc hotel is located in the exclusive French ski resort of Courcheval.

We know Giorgio Armani has extended his brand to hotels, as has Versace, Lacroix and several other designers. So it comes as no surprise that the biggest luxury goods conglomerate is again ensuring they are covering many categories and leveraging off the associated synergies.

Image courtesy of It shows the existing Cheval Blanc hotel.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Luxury Branding 101 – 12/4/10

“Great brands make great investments.” This interesting headline caught our attention recently in an article in Forbes.

A great article, it focuses on the 'brand as an asset' and the growing acceptance of this by investors. It reveals that research by Credit Suisse has determined that “brand value gives companies a genuine competitive advantage.”

The brands highlighted in this article include Apple, Ralph Lauren and Tiffany & Co. Tiffany & Co. were praised for following the rules of branding by “continuing to design and produce unique pieces that appeal to a growing global audience of ‘Tiffany blue-box’ aficionados.”

We believe ‘brand as an asset’ is also about the company one keeps, or who their new 'bestie' is... Think Louis Vuitton opening a mega flagship store on the corner of King and George Street in Sydney's CBD, just opposite the Apple store… share the love.

Image courtesy of imageshack. It shows a Tiffany & Co. advertisement.

Burberry Experiences Some Weight Loss - 12/4/10

As reported in Reuters UK, "Shares in Burberry Group (BRBY.L) shed 4 percent, the top blue-chip loser in the UK...", although there is also speculation that the shares will not lose their value when Burberry announce their updated second-half due out April 20, we will keep you posted.

Burberry have proved to be a resilient brand over the past 18 months and have continued with some bold and strategic manoeuvres. For past articles on Burberry, search our archives.

Friday, 9 April 2010

LVMH Stock Slipped 1.5 Percent – 9/4/10

LVMH shares fell 1.5 percent, featuring among the worst performers on France's CAC 40 index, after Credit Suisse downgraded its recommendation on the stock to "neutral" from "outperform", citing valuation. Read more at Reuters.

Fake Goods Can Equal Fake People, Say Scientists – 9/4/10

Finally, there is scientific proof that buying counterfeit goods is bad for your health …

Research cited in the Huffington Post’s article, The Psychology Of Knockoffs, has discovered people who purchase counterfeit goods are generally unethical across other areas. It says “ ‘Faking’ it makes us feel like phonies and cheaters on the inside, and this alienated, counterfeit ‘self’ leads to cheating and cynicism in the real world."

We believe that knowingly purchasing counterfeit goods puts people in two camps:

1. It's a 'real' CHANNEL (CHANEL) and I only paid X for it... They know the brand through seeing advertisements of lipsticks and fragrances etc., but have no real exposure to the brand and associated costs. So to purchase a CHANNEL handbag for $150.00 may be expensive to them, therefore (unless they purchased it on the street corner), they genuinely do believe it is authentic. As often happens, they may receive the 'fake' item as a gift... the recipient therefore knows nothing about the environment it was purchased in and also how the wrapping, finishing, tissue, care labels, guarantees, etc. should look...

2. They know it is fake and don't care, they 'want' to be seen to be wearing brands, and are using these items as props to signal success to others. These are the disingenuous folk, the real fakes amongst us. They, we believe, are whom the psychologists are talking about predominately in this very fine and interesting report.

Weed out the fakers we say, it's all about ethics and as the report says it goes beyond just the purchasing of fake merchandise... a slightly skewed and cynical view of many other people and things.

Our new slogan is: FAKES are for FRAUDS - Say NO to FAKES!

Image credit:

Burberry Introduces An Exclusive Japan-Only Black Label Range – 9/4/10

Click here to preview the Winter/Fall collection for Burberry’s Black label range, which is exclusive to Japan. Another luxury brand that is doing market exclusives…

As Burberry has been on a very large growth trajectory over the past few years and performing well, a new line extension is a timely introduction as the brand is becoming more commercial, some may even say too available? Some customers who are brand loyal want to continue to purchase the brand however don't want to see ‘everyone’ wearing it. So the new Black this season is Burberry. Will it reach beyond the shores of Japan in the near future...? Read more here.

Image credit: It shows Black Label clothing.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The Low Down On The Shanghai Luxury Conference – 8/4/10

A luxury conference held recently at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai has raised some interesting questions about the Asian market.

According to WWD, "One of the most debated topics at the conference was whether Chinese consumers are willing to accept homegrown luxury brands.”

This article reminded us of some of the issues we’ve previously discussed in the MO Down, such as the increase in Asian companies purchasing European luxury brands and the creation of Asian, particularly Chinese, luxury brands.

It also features key points on current European brands who have invested in China early on; Ferragamo, as an example, will continue to expand in the market. Also, Hermes is cleverly looking at producing a brand in China, Shang Xia, (perhaps this is about the "if you cannot beat them, join them" philosophy). Also, existing and notable high end Chinese Brand, Shanghai-Tang is expanding their current offer by opening a cafe and launching an iPhone application.

Click here to read our earlier report on Hermes’ Shang Xia. We’ve also discussed several mergers and acquisitions in detail.

Image credit:

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Found: Mark Lee At Tory Burch – 7/4/10

Lee, the former CEO of the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent brands, has kept a low profile since stepping down from Gucci’s helm in 2008. We thought he was a good catch at the time (see our report ‘Where is Mark Lee?’) so it’s good to see him making headlines again. Read more about Lee joining Tory Burch at WWD.

Image credit: WWD Business.

Hermes + Pierre Hardy = “Haute Bijouterie” – 7/4/10

According to WWD, Pierre Hardy’s Hermes collection has been dubbed “Haute Bijouterie” to distinguish itself from the couture houses and other luxury players.

Hermes will be taking orders for the collection on a world tour that will stop in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Berlin. The waiting time is 5 to 7 months. Click here to read more.

Hermes’ CEO Patrick Thomas said there is rising demand for bespoke pieces. “It’s a trend which is also growing in each of our categories, but especially in jewellery,” he said. “Today, I would say it’s at least 10 percent of our business.”

Image credit: WWD. Shows one of the Haute Bijouterie pieces.

Richemont’s Being Clever By Buying Net-a-Porter – 7/4/10

As revealed yesterday, Richemont is buying the lion’s share (67 percent) of online fashion retailer Net-a-Porter.

A key article in the Financial Times (Ready For The Next Chapter In E-Tailing) explored this smart move, concluding that Richemont “became the first leading luxury conglomerate to purchase a multi-brand virtual store, taking the industry's involvement with the web to a new level.”

The article also highlighted some interesting stats, including that Net-a-Porter “has 3.3 million unique users a month, and is growing by approximately 10,000 new customers per month.”

This is impressive. If we break this down by an average from the leading 'luxury brand' flagships in Australia where the stores receive 7-10K per month of traffic arrivals, versus 3.3 million a month. It is increasingly difficult to compete in this landscape and this is why luxury brands more than ever must embrace their own online retail offer. They need to offer more products online in addition to their bricks and mortar stores, they should increase their own share of the tarte tatin ... Hence why again we reiterate Richemont's smart move in this direction to manage wholesale, retail and virtual retail.

Karl Lagerfeld Can’t Get Enough Of Goyard Luggage – 7/4/10

Karl Lagerfeld has a lot of baggage… 14 suitcases to be precise, on a recent New York trip.

Which is an unbelievable amount considering he has a 'uniform' of sorts with his jeans, or tight black pants, jacket and white high collared shirt and boots... so what else is in there? The New York Post had no answers in their expose, but we now know (thanks to this article in Luxist) that he prefers luggage from Goyard (a very exclusive French luggage maison, founded in 1828).

Image courtesy of the Luxist.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Richemont Will Become The Majority Shareholder In Net-a-Porter – 6/4/10

It’s official: Richemont will move from owning 29 percent of internet designer clothing retailer Net-a-Porter to 67 percent, according to Reuters.

An article in the Financial Times also caught our eye, particularly this comment: "Net-a-Porter’s management team are hoping to be able to tap into Richemont’s expertise in the Asia-Pacific region, while Johann Rupert, Richemont’s executive chairman, is hoping to be able to use Net-a-Porter’s skill in selling luxury online to help Richemont develop its own internet strategy."

Johann Rupert, also said in a statement: “Natalie Massenet has created a superb, customer-oriented business at Net-a-Porter in a relatively short period of time. We welcome her and her team to Richemont and look forward to working with them in the future to ensure Net-a-Porter’s continuing success.”

This seems to be a clever move for Richemont; buying into a successful high end online retailer will enhance their own online offer...

Image courtesy of the Times online. It shows Natalie Massenet.

LVMH Plan To Transform The La Samaritaine Into A Hotel – 6/4/10

The LVMH group continue to innovate… with their business model covering wholesale to mono brand retail (think: Louis Vuitton, DIOR, FENDI etc) to multi marque retail department store Le Bon Marche, then to the renovation of La Samaritaine, a former Paris department store.

LVMH acquired the La Samaritaine department store in 2001, but closed it in 2005, saying the building was a fire hazard. Now, LVMH plans to convert the 141-year-old Art Nouveau structure into a hotel. Click here to find out more.

We thought it was interesting that the La Samaritaine’s website is still online with a short message about the department store’s closure, and a free call consumer information number.

La Samaritaine image, courtesy of wikimedia

Friday, 2 April 2010

The New Golden Rules For Luxury Recruitment – 2/4/10

In a great article by The Economist on recruitment, it seemed clear to us that business is heading back on track and there is a noticeable increase in employment opportunities, even in the niche luxury market.

A key point in the article is that: “Recruiters are clearly becoming far more sophisticated, thanks to the new search tools that are available. You’d think with 10% unemployment, jobs would be filled more quickly, but the focus on sourcing the right people, screening them and so on means that the time to fill has not fallen.”

We agree with the above comment in bold. At MO Luxury, we are true believers in finding the right people. We try to understand beyond the brief... Particularly in the luxury industry, passion and an innate understanding of the highest quality provision of customer service or client relations are just as important as experience and any tertiary qualifications. Even if the brief is matched as closely as possible, there is always a small percent of room that should be allowed for company culture, thorough training/induction, in essence ensuring the new candidate has the best chance to perform, ensuring they have the tools to perform effectively every day.

The most difficult time for both clients and candidates alike is the first month, however generally both parties should be able to identify any areas of concern and discuss these openly as early as possible to ensure seamless transition and a successful future career.

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We Wish You A Happy Easter In 8 Languages – 2/4/10

Happy Easter!
Les Pâques heureux
Pasqua felice
Счастливая Пасха
Pascua feliz
سعيد عيد الفصح

We hope you have a restful Easter break. The MO Down will be back next Tuesday with the latest news on the luxury market.

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Thursday, 1 April 2010

We Give You The Low Down On Luxury Mergers And Acquisitions – 1/4/10

Swatch and Bulgari may not be in buyout talks (see yesterday’s MO Down), but they have us (and the rest of the world) pondering other merger and acquisition (M&A) options and hypotheticals in the luxury industry.

We found an excellent Reuters article that provided a detailed overview of the current state of M&As, which shows some European brands have already been sold to buyers from emerging markets, including Asian companies or wealthy individuals.

We found this comment particularly interesting: "Another contributing factor to an M&A pick-up is the weaker euro which should make European brands more attractive to foreign buyers, particularly from regions such as China, Japan, India, Russia and the Middle East”, according to M&A advisers.

Another thought-provoking insight was that, “Potential buyers in China want to get a share of the big profits European luxury companies make by selling products in their fast-growing home market, while Japanese buyers are looking to tap regions outside their stagnant economy.”

Some of the M&As we’ve already explored on the MO Down include:
• The resurrection of German brand MCM (formerly known as Michael Cromer Munich) by Korean business woman Sung Joo Kim. Click here to read our earlier report.

• German brand Escada was bought by Megha Mittal, the daughter-in-law of ArcelorMittal Chief Executive Lakshmi Mittal. Click here for more details.

We must also note that Lanvin, the iconic French brand that has had a wonderful rejuvenation in recent years thanks to the creative director Alber Elbaz, is owned by a holding company Arpege SAS. The majority owner, Shaw-Lan Wang, a Taiwanese media magnate, found a silent partner in November 2009 to assist in further growing the company and hopefully keeping the other luxury conglomerates at bay for a while... so there’s no hostile takeover in sight right now.

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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,