Despite a double dip recession, eurozone crisis and the switch from bricks-and-mortar stores to online operations, landlords have offered little respite for retailers, with rent rates falling just over 1 per cent over the past five years. According to the latest figures from research firm IPD, annualised rental values declined by an average of 1.1 per cent over the past five years, from its market peak in December 2008.
1. Louis Vuitton
The all powerful French fashion house has continued to emphasize the timelessness and authenticity that it’s world renowned for over the last five years, and to impressive effect. The brand has increased prices steadily, invested in creativity and heightened the focus on quality and luxury in order to win customers who are far more inclined to keep a firm hold on their purse strings as the world is gripped by a fierce recession. It appears that the LVMH way is the right way as the fashion retailer has been valued at USD 24.3 billion for 2011, an increase of 23 per cent from 2010.
The family-owned fashion retailer, and the inventor of the coveted Birkin bag, is now valued far more highly than France’s second largest bank, Société Générale. Hermés is now valued at EUR 24.5 billion on the Paris stock exchange, while SocGen is worth EUR 18 billion. Not only this, the demand for the iconic bags is outstripping supply to such an extent that the retailer recently had to hire 400 new staff to raise the production of leather goods by almost 10 per cent. Hermés shares are up 70 per cent this year as a result of the arrival of LVMH on its shareholder register. The group has snapped up a 20.2 per cent stake in Hermés, which is unwanted by all accounts according to to the Hermés family who have said: "[There is] an intruder in the garden but we don't want him in the house."
The highest ranking Italian luxury brand has recently teamed up with world renowned auction house Christie’s to appraise vintage Gucci luggage and handbags in order to give the brand a lead on its competitors. Despite Gucci’s top five position in the luxury rankings, this year the company’s value declined by 2 per cent to USD 7.45 billion as a result of its parent PPR (PP) SA’s financial performance. In order to turn the success of the brand around CEO Francois Henri Pinault radically changed management within the holding company and took a much more active, creative and visionary approach in order to combat unforgiving market conditions.
After an 11 per cent decrease in value in 2010, Chanel came roaring back. The fashion house has not chosen to sell pieces online as other brands have. A prospective consumer will struggle to find an accurate price list for Chanel accessories online (and believe me, I’ve tried) and you simply will not find a Chanel bag online (unless you choose to risk eBay). The French fashion house have managed to maintain the elusive air of exclusivity while still boasting a strong digital platform. Overall brand value for 2011 is up 23 per cent to USD 6.82 billion thanks to a strong foreign market and the super-covetable lipsticks and perfumes in Chanel’s cosmetics range.
Cartier has remained the most valuable jewellery brand in the world despite a recent, unavoidable drop in its brand value as a result of the recession. However, this has not dampened the company’s spirit and ambition. The firm has accelerated boutique openings in the Middle East and the US in order to stay ahead of the game and to diversify its risk in case the ever-profitable Chinese market hits the buffers.
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