Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
from Shop Talk:
Check out the cautious notes being sounded in the global luxury market.
Industry executives voiced concerns about everything from unemployment to Europe's brewing economic crisis, but are nonetheless banking on growth from China and a recovering U.S. market.
Leading officials speaking at the Reuters Global Luxury Summit said the debt crisis in Europe is threatening to halt luxury's rebound, but demand for fine merchandise was picking up in the United States while China's shoppers were venturing frequently into Tokyo for top brands.
"The euro zone is a sizable market, but today the growth reserve is in the emerging countries, and particularly in China, whose demand is pulling the entire sector," said Isabelle Ardon, head of Paris-based SG Gestion's luxury fund.
The debt crisis and depreciation of the euro have raised concerns of a double dip global recession that could knock luxury spending back down after a fragile recovery. Bulgari's CEO Francesco Trapani (pictured) said Europe would remain a difficult market.
from Shop Talk:
Coach's Lew Frankfort has given up trying to teach American men about fashion, but he still sees opportunity for expanding sales to a male clientele.
"I believe the American male is largely uneducable," Coach Chairman and CEO Frankfort said at the Reuters Global Luxury Summit in New York.
"We need to focus on the segment of males that have real discerning taste. But I can also say that even the undiscerning American male is a smart consumer: that person is looking for a product that is durable, that is classic, that can stand the test of time and that's what our products do," Frankfort said.
Sales of Coach's man-bags, wallets and other accessories represent 5 percent of its total take, and that is one area where the company is trying to build growth. At a test store for men only, on Bleecker Street in Manhattan, it has seen sales results run at about triple its own expectations, Frankfort said.
"There's a lot of appetite among the discerning male for quality accessories made out of excellent materials that are stylish. ... In North America, the male consumer remains heavily utilitarian-driven, replacement-oriented, value-based. There are discerning males in Boise, Idaho. I don't mean to suggest there aren't."
(Photo of Frankfort/Reuters)