And then there was October, 2011 that is, a month in review

During October 2011 the steamy legal battle between Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent over red soles continued. Christian Louboutin was awarded a patent for the blood red sole back in 2008, but it didn’t stop YSL from doing the same. Louboutin haven’t been able to trademark the red soles though, and it does not look like the brand will be winning their case anytime soon.

As at 4th January, 2012 UK Vogue reported that Christian Louboutin suffered another blow, as a group of eminent law professors sided with YSL. The academics – from some of the US’s most famous law schools – filed an amicus brief with the Federal Court of Appeals in Manhattan urging the court not to allow Louboutin to “monopolise” the colour, WWD reports. The appeal “should be rejected in order to preserve freedom of innovation and competition,” the group stated.

Tiffany & Co. announced a store opening for Prague which could pave the way in diamonds and gold for the jeweller in other Eastern European capitals, including Warsaw and Budapest. It will be exciting to see how 2012 plays out, Eastern Europe could be a good area for growth with both new and old money evident and we have certainly seen this with luxury brand growth over the past 10 years in Russia.

LVMH posted positive results with a recorded revenue of AU$ 21.84 billion during the first nine months of 2011, it was an increase of 15 per cent over the same period as 2010. The growth showed a continuation of the trend evident since the start of the year. The momentum continued in Asia, Europe and the US, whilst Japan returned to growth over the period. Louis Vuitton also set up a partnership with Heng Leng, renowned suppliers of fine crocodilian leather.

Luxury group PPR posted their third quarter sales and they sure did impress. There was definitely no sign of a financial crisis within the luxury world as group revenue jumped 7 per cent. PPR posted third quarter 2011 revenue of €3.9 billion, up 7 per cent versus the same 2010 period on a comparable basis, and advanced in all geographic areas.

On a similar note Coach also released impressive first quarter earnings. The company reported sales of $US1.05 billion for its first fiscal quarter, a 15 per cent increase of last year’s figures ($US912million). Net income for the quarter totalled $US215 million, with earnings per diluted share of $US0.73. Nonetheless, just before these impressive figures were announced Coach experienced some backlash over the fact that they had linked up with a local Chinese business to manufacture their goods, likely in pursuit of cost-savings. It seems that at least some of Coach’s handbags are designed in New York but manufactured in Dongguan. To many people, purchasing a luxury product, one thinks that it was handcrafted in Paris or made in Italy, but the harsh reality is, that in 2011 we have seen brands such as Coach relocate manufacturing to more cost-effective locations around the globe.

Burberry also released solid results during the month of October. Retail sales rose 45 per cent to £528m, with the brand’s trademark trench coats and large leather goods delivered half of this boost. Flagship markets including New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong and Dubai performed strongly, whilst there was continued comparable sales growth of around 30 per cent in acquired China stores.

The MO Down also reported that some Luxury Houses turned their focus to India, notably Hermes continued to invest in the market, albeit in a considered way for a long term presence, just like they did for clients from the United Arab Emirates.  Hermès continued to approach new markets in a clever and strategic way.

Certainly a good month in the world of luxury…

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