LUXURY PRESS DIGEST 22ND APRIL

Luxury Fashion, Retail & Consumer Goods

RICHEMONT FLAGS SHARP DROP IN FULL-YEAR PROFITS
CNBC reports that luxury goods firm Richemont said its full-year profit would drop by more than one-third and its tax rate would rise considerably after losses on financial instruments including derivatives. Richemont said that excluding the results of Net-a-Porter, its full-year sales increased 4 per cent on a reported basis, and by 1 per cent at constant currencies. Richemont said its operating profit for the year is expected to rise 10 per cent, including a gain on an investment property disposal. The Swiss firm reports full results on May 22.

KERING SAYS OVERHAULING GUCCI IS PRIORITY THIS YEAR
The Wall Street Journal writes that French luxury and lifestyle company Kering SA said Tuesday that overhauling its flagship brand Gucci will be its top priority this year, as business at the label slid in the first quarter. Kering—home to high-end labels such as Bottega Veneta and Yves Saint Laurent as well as sports brand Puma—posted a 11 per cent rise in total quarterly sales to €2.65 billion ($2.83 billion) from €2.38 billion a year earlier, as the weak euro bolstered sales. But stripped of the positive currency impact and excluding acquisitions and disposals, sales slipped 0.6 per cent over the period, as the luxury division faltered with revenue plunging at star brand Gucci.

THE FUTURE OF LUXURY GOODS – FROM TOXIC WASTE URNS TO A COMPASS THAT HELPS YOU GET LOST
The Guardian reports that a refreshing new exhibition at the V&A questions what luxury is and where it’s heading … and proves that £100k watches and fabulous fur hats count for nothing if you don’t have the ultimate luxury of time and space. The exhibition, 'What Is Luxury', is co-organised with the Crafts Council and there is a definite emphasis on showcasing the pinnacles of craft skill, rather than luxury as defined by the forces of the market, or the iniquitous powers of the marketing machine.

WHAT ARE THE NEW STATUS SYMBOLS FOR THE ULTRA RICH?
The Telegraph writes that a series of auctions in the mid-Eighties saw telephone number sums handed over for Picassos, Cézannes and Van Goghs. Back then, the bidders wore black tie and worked on behalf of Japanese banks. Now, evening dress isn't worn, and the buyers are from Dubrovnik to Dubai and beyond. But, 30 years apart, both are seeking not pictures but status symbols. In recent years, however, as the number of global rich has increased, so too has the size of the luxury goods market. So-called alternative investments have boomed over the past five years. In this period, the FTSE All-Share index of stocks increased by 31 per cent, but according to Knight Frank, the estate agency, the value of watches has increased by 49 per cent, art by 61 per cent, diamonds by 73 per cent and vintage cars by 140 per cent.

LUXURY CONSUMER MARKET GAINING TRACTION IN POLAND
Forbes reports that increasingly, Poles love being pampered. Having successfully survived the end-of-decade recession, Poland produced a society that is now more globalized than ever, and complete with an upper-middle class – particularly in the country’s largest cities like Warsaw, Wroclaw, Krakow and Katowice – hungry for the western standards of living and luxury goods. The Polish luxury goods market was estimated at 12.6 billion Polish zlotys ($3.38 billion) in 2014, and constitutes an increasingly popular location for luxury brand retailers,

Luxury Travel, Culture & Leisure

HESTON BLUMENTHAL'S AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURES
Writing for the Telegraph's Ultratravel, Heston Blumenthal takes readers on a culinary tour of Australia following the relocation of the Fat Duck restaurant to Melbourne for six months. He writes "I am in love with Australia’s food. If you want three-Michelin-starred French cuisine then you should head for Paris, and if you are after Zen-like cooking, you are best off in Kyoto or Tokyo. But if you savour diversity, then Melbourne and Sydney are essential cities to visit."