LUXURY PRESS DIGEST 15TH APRIL

Luxury Fashion, Retail & Consumer Goods

BURBERRY SALES UP ON STRENGTH IN US LUXURY MARKET
The Financial Times reports the trench coat, re-mastered season after season at UK luxury goods behemoth Burberry, remains a fashion staple. That is the message from the iconic British brand, which reported a stronger-than-expected rise in same-store sales on "strong" demand for the company's heritage trench coats and scarves. Comparable sales — a closely scrutinised industry metric that measures underlying performance at stores open at least a year — climbed 9 per cent in the company's second half, pipping forecasts for a 7.6 per cent gain.

LVMH Q1 FASHION SALES RISE LESS THAN EXPECTED
The Business of Fashion reports that LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, the world’s largest luxury-goods maker, reported a 16 percent increase in first-quarter sales as growth in the Americas helped compensate for a slowdown in China. Revenue advanced to 8.32 billion euros ($8.8 billion), Paris-based LVMH said Monday after markets closed. Analysts predicted 8.13 billion euros, based on the median of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Excluding acquisitions, disposals and currency swings, revenue climbed 3 percent.

HAVE LUXURY BRANDS BEEN ERECTING 'CHURCHES' IN CHINA?
Campaign Asia writes, is the luxury industry facing an identity crisis? Probably yes, if the industry doesn’t adapt it’s marketing strategy to the new demands of Chinese consumers, according to participants in a panel discussion hosted by the French Chamber in Hong Kong yesterday. The current weakness in the luxury industry is not a cyclical phenomenon, according to Frances Gouten, director of Gouten Consulting, who retired from Richmont in 2006. “Yes we have a crisis, Gouten said. “The market has drastically changed in the past 15 years from the time when China was a vacuum where everyone can go into”.

ANTI-CORRUPTION DRIVE GROUNDS CHINA PRIVATE JET SALES
The Financial Times reports that China’s campaign against corruption launched by President Xi Jinping, which has dented sales of luxury goods, has now grounded the private jet sector. According to Jetnet, an aviation data provider, purchases of business jets by Chinese companies peaked at 55 in 2011, the year before Mr Xi assumed power at the Chinese Communist party’s 18th congress. They have declined steadily ever since, to just 35 last year.

WHERE DO AFRICA'S MULTIMILLIONAIRES LIVE?
CNN writes that wealthy Nigerians used to travel abroad to get their fix of luxury goods. However these days, they can take a stroll around Victoria Island, an exclusive neighborhood in Lagos where brands like Porsche, Hugo Boss and Ermenegildo Zegna line the streets. The Nigerian city is among African metropolises which have seen some of the highest growth in the number of millionaires on the continent. This emerging class of Africa's new millionaires has been pushing the demand for luxury products across the continent.

LOUIS VUITTON'S TIMEPIECE TRIUMPH
The Telegraph writes, with something over 40,000 sq ft of light-filled atelier space, Louis Vuitton’s sprawling La Fabrique du Temps brings under one roof a diverse group of craftsmen, designers and technicians who had previously been in workshops spread across Switzerland’s watchmaking valleys. And more than that, the new facility gives Louis Vuitton a much more defined position in the world of fine watchmaking. As a luxury brand, Louis Vuitton is a behemoth compared to the likes of Patek Philippe or Jaeger-LeCoultre, but in watch terms, it has still to persuade the world that it can offer more than pretty little cocktail numbers.

Luxury Travel, Culture & Leisure

WTTC CHIEF WARNS UK TRAVEL AND TOURISM FACES 'CRUNCH'
Travel Weekly writes that the head of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has hit out at the UK government, saying: “The UK is not a good example of managing the sector.” WTTC president and chief executive David Scowsill spoke out as the Council forecast UK travel and tourism would grow by 4% this year, outpacing the 2.9% growth forecast in the country's economy. With the country facing an election on May 7, Scowsil urged the next government “to take major steps”. He said: “First, make visa applications easier, particularly for high-spending Chinese travellers."