LUXURY PRESS DIGEST 6TH MAY

Luxury Fashion, Retail & Consumer Goods

UK URGED TO EASE UP ON VISA CURBS
China Daily reports that Michael Ward, the managing director of Harrods, is lobbying authorities to remove roadblocks that hinder travel from China to Britain. This comes as a clampdown on graft has caused luxury sales in China to sag while the consumption patterns of Chinese shoppers shift at the London store. Mr Ward believes revenue would be higher for all British retailers if visa issuances for Chinese tourists were brought into line with the rest of Europe. He has even proposed paying for a customs officer to have a post at Harrods so Chinese visitors do not have to wait in long lines at Heathrow Airport to reclaim their value-added tax before flying home.

WHY CHINA’S CONSUMERS WILL CONTINUE TO SURPRISE THE WORLD
McKinsey reports that China has an awesome consumer story. Yet lately you can’t pick up a newspaper, go online, or watch television without hearing continual moaning about the country’s slowing economic growth and the need for “rebalancing.” The reality is that Chinese consumers are going to continue to increase in wealth and complexity. And if you’re worried the country’s economic importance is declining, you’re probably looking at its performance the wrong way.

LUXURY BRANDS SEE AUSTRALIA AS RIPE PICKINGS
The Sydney Morning Herald writes that luxury overseas brands have discovered Australia in the past few years and are now accounting for a significant share of the retail market, in terms of sales and physical presence, which has put pressure on rents, according to agents. And as demand rises and landlords build flagship stores, the inflow will continue. But while the likes of Zara, H&M and Uniqlo received rock star openings, the largest number of stores, across the country, are leased and operated by Hugo Boss, with 21 freestanding stores, followed by Ralph Lauren with 12, Louis Vuitton with 10 stores, Gucci, Coach and Max Mara all with nine stores, Bally with eight, and Chanel and Tiffany & Co. with seven each.

Luxury Travel, Culture & Leisure

HOUND POUND: DOG LOVERS WILL SPLASH OUT ON HOLIDAYS WITH THEIR PETS
The Telegraph writes that opening their doors to dogs could increase hotels' revenues by 30 per cent a year, as the luxury pet sector starts barking up new trees. Pet travel has become the biggest growth sector of Pets Pyjamas’ business, accounting for a third of its revenue, and the company expects that to expand significantly this year. More and more hotels around the country are welcoming the pitter patter of paws, and PetsPyjamas chief executive Gracia Amico, the former Burberry marketing manager who led the e-commerce departments at Top Man and Hobbs before turning to the world of animals last year, believes that this could boost the hospitality industry by helping it capitalise on domestic tourism and the growing popularity of so-called staycations.