LuxuryBlurb

Posts Tagged ‘Burberry’

CAPE TOWN: WORLD DESIGN CAPITAL 2014

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

ctp-logo-black_0Posted by Leonard Steinberg on December 23rd, 2013

I am visiting my hometown, Cape Town, South Africa, which has been designated the World Design Capital for 2014. Cape Town is a melting pot of design influences from Europe, Africa and the Far East, in a city known for it hugely diverse cultural mix. These influences certainly translate into some interesting design, yet it can be tough to find…..

While walking through the V & A Waterfront Mall last night, considered by many to be one of the best designed malls in the world for its clever planning and architecture that incorporates lots of natural light, mixing the new with the original old harbor architecture, with a multitude of entertainment, dining and shopping options plus world-class hotels and high-end condominiums (with great security), I was somewhat dismayed by the same old expected mix of internationally recognizable brands. The sameness was sad in a way:  Burberry, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, blah, blah, blah. I could have been in Dubai, Westchester, Tokyo, Munich, anywhere and seen the exact same labels. While this certainly puts Cape Town in the ‘international leagues’ which is a good thing, its also very sad that the fruits of the DESIGN CAPITAL of the world for 2014 are not well represented in this mall. I saw nothing distinctively South African aside from the tedious curio shops.

The horrible trend of sameness is tragic in my opinion. With the rich design possibilities in South Africa, not to mention a desperate need for jobs, I think a huge opportunity exists to create unique, wonderful, authentic products that say SOUTH AFRICAN that are both indigenous yet equally appropriate on the world stage. Architecturally I see throughout Cape Town a desperate need to look INTERNATIONAL……yes this is good for attracting foreign buyers, but maybe the combination of international elements that satisfy a certain need combined with more authentic elements and materials would be better?

If every city starts to look alike, if all products sold are the same globally, how dull will this earth become? So hopefully Cape Town being designated a World Design Capital will inspire all to look inwards and create in a more authentic manner, one that inspires the consumer to say: “Ah-hah: now that was designed in South Africa!”

HERMES POSTS STRONG SALES GAINS, YET GROWTH COOLS AS DOLLAR STRENGTHENS

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

images-1Posted by Leonard Steinberg on April 22nd, 2013

Uber-luxury goods conglomerate Hermes posted its slowest pace of quarterly growth since 2009 as currency headwinds weighed on revenues, reporting a 10% rise in sales to 856.8 million euros. Last year, growth for a number of high-end names cooled as shoppers, notably in China, moved away from more mass market luxury products and splashed out on pricier, more exclusive goods.  Sameness on the very high end is a growing problem for a market seeking ultra-exclusivity in a world where the volume of extreme wealth is spreading. This trend seems to be replicating itself in New York real estate where the very high end is performing better than anything and the demand for ultra-ultra luxury remains very strong.

Hermes has been hit in recent months by unfavorable currency effects after receiving a boost from a weaker euro last year. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton Chief Executive Bernard Arnault raised a red flag earlier this year warning that “currency wars and competitive devaluation” could pose a risk. LVMH, which does more than 70% of its business outside of Europe, saw currency variations trim underlying sales’ growth in the first quarter, according to numbers released last week.

At constant currencies Hermes revenue climbed 13%, marking a slightly less stellar pace than in recent quarters though the figure is above the company’s medium-term target for annual sales growth of 10%, excluding exchange rate effects. Sales through the group’s own stores expanded briskly, rising 14% at constant exchange rates. Revenues from wholesale channels delivered “satisfactory” 10% growth, the company said.

Last week, U.K.-based Burberry showed signs of renewed health after a difficult 2012, as it said demand for higher-priced trench coats and leather bags had supported sales in recent months while LVMH reiterated plans to nudge its products further upmarket after it reported a 0.4% increase in sales at its fashion & leather goods division, home to its signature Louis Vuitton brand.

GREENWICH VILLAGE: THE GILDED GHETTO?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Posted by Leonard Steinberg on September 5th, 2012

This month Vanity Fair termed Greenwich Village the “GILDED GHETTO”:  is this the appropriate description of the neighborhood everyone, including foreigners, Uptowners and Downtowner’s, agree is the ultimate New York living environment? The area’s unique combination of (guaranteed) low lying buildings that provide the best light in the city, charming tree lined cobbled streets with their eclectic mix of apartments, chic townhouses and mega-mansions, a superb mix of retail and restaurants, and it’s proximity to the Hudson River Park and Meatpacking District make it the kind of utopian ‘bubble’ that seems to be a trend around the globe.

Other cities all have their ‘gilded ghetto’s’ I guess, from Rome to London to Beijing, Cape Town, Sidney, Moscow and Rio. With the divide between wealthy and the rest of the world growing I see a growing trend: this is where the Village is possibly a bit unique in that it probably will always have some element of ‘West Side Story’-looking real estate mixed in….A Burberry store next to a store that’s very far from that price-point. The human scale of the Village is what makes it so very desirable: where else could a mega-mansion blend in so discreetly and not be a gilded limestone wedding cake? This is all very characteristic of the new, younger discreet wealth.

This is the new luxury. The un-luxury of the new-new global wealth that appears more drawn to the brassier, flashy versions of luxury that are beginning to look all alike.

HERMES SALES RISE 18.2%: SUPER-LUXE IS STRONGEST

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Posted on November 7, 2011

So you thought the world’s luxury market was in trouble? Think again. French luxury group Hermes raised its full-year sales forecast on Friday after third-quarter growth beat its initial target, pulled by buoyant demand for the 174-year-old brand in Europe, the Americas and Asia.

The maker of 10,000-euro leather bags and 1-million-euro ($1.4 million) crocodile leather jackets said it expected full-year sales growth at constant exchange rates to reach 15-16 percent this year, against a previous forecast of 12-14 percent.

The upgrade was expected by many analysts, and some said the new forecast was still conservative. Hermes sales rose 18.2 percent at constant exchange rates to 683.2 million euros in the three months to Sept. 30, while analysts expected growth of 17 percent.

The upbeat outlook from Hermes comes after luxury peers such as Burberry , LVMH and PPR posted forecast-beating quarterly figures and said they saw no slowdown in spite of global economic concerns.

Of course, more middle class barnds have not fared as well. Abercromvie and Fitch and The Gap which are brands more reflective of lower income consumers have produced weaker results and discouraging outlooks. In November’s LUXURYLETTER, the monthly New York luxury real estate report produced by Leonard Steinberg and his team, it was the high end super-luxury properties that were reported to be seling best, even showing price escalations. Another reflection of how the world’s traditional 3 class system is drifting towards a 2 class system:   rich and poor.

AMERICAN IDOL REPORTING

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Posted by Leonard Steinberg on April 9, 2011

This week, Amercan Idol fans were shocked when one of the shows biggest talents, Pia, was voted off the show…..it was another reminder of the dangers of mass tastes dictating. Without Simon Cowell, the judges superficial, uneducated, Jenny-from-the-block evaluation failed us all. I feel the same way about real estate reporting these days: so much of real estate reporting about New York real estate relies much too heaviuly on celebrity. This week I had a very interesting conversation with a top reporter of a major newspaper on the subject.

It amazed me how restricted this reporter was by how competitive the press has become to get the latest scoop on the latest celebrity spotting/purchase/appearance…..real-estate wise!  This very intelligent reporter agreed that there was a need for an organization or two to stop this insanity and become a bit more educational, and dare I say intellectual/smart, about understanding what does and does not happen in the world of real estate.  Surely, when the quarterly reports are distributed, the consumer deserves some more detailed analysis/reporting on what all those figures mean, rather than just spewing them out verbatum, cicling round eventually to the one huge sale of a billionaire or celebrity?

Certainly the New York Times, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, Observer, Curbed, The Real Deal, etc have all produced some well written, well researched articles. We hope they focus more on these well researched and analysed pieces. The Paris Hilton-esque stuff is becoming annoying.

Just like American Idol, are we all doomed to be overwhelmed by the masses desire for shallow, superficial ‘news’ without any form of analysis or depth? I think there are enough people out there who want and expect more. Maybe what we are experiencing right now is a fashion for the ultra-superficial: hopefully  the next fashion will be INTELLIGENCE, a well designed Burberry coat, not Jeggings, and hopefully it lasts?