Europe’s lux­ury re­tail­ers may be com­ing back to form

Miami Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

to shop for sneak­ers, loafers and pos­si­bly hand­bags once in­side the bou­tique.

“I am com­pletely sessed,” Liu said.

The sib­lings ex­pressed a deep ad­mi­ra­tion for Gucci’s Re­nais­sance Man, its bearded and charis­matic cre­ative di­rec­tor, Alessan­dro Michele.

In just over two years, and with the help of Gucci’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Marco Biz­zarri, Michele has spear­headed a strik­ing turn­around in for­tunes for the once-be­lea­guered fash­ion house, forged around his col­or­ful and max­i­mal­ist aes­thetic, slick leather goods col­lec­tions and savvy use of so­cial me­dia. ob-

“I love the clothes and the ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns, but the bags are re­ally why I am here,” said Juli­eta Vega, a tourist from Spain on a week­end trip. She al­ready had three Gucci hand­bags, and added that every time she went abroad she vis­ited the lo­cal Gucci store. “You never know what they might have there that you can’t get any­where else,” Vega said.

Cus­tomers like Liu and Vega are pro­pel­ling a resur­gence for Gucci and its par­ent com­pany.

Ker­ing, which also owns brands like Ba­len­ci­aga and Alexan­der McQueen, said that to­tal like-for-like sales grew 26.5 per­cent year-onyear in the first six months of 2017 to 7.3 bil­lion eu­ros ($8.5 bil­lion), while re­cur­ring op­er­at­ing in­come in­creased 57.1 per­cent to nearly 1.3 bil­lion eu­ros, both of which out­per­formed an­a­lysts’ es­ti­mates.

The re­sults paint a markedly more pos­i­tive pic­ture than pre­vi­ous years for Euro­pean lux­ury com­pa­nies.

Louis Vuit­ton, for ex­am­ple, un­veiled a wildly pop­u­lar col­lab­o­ra­tion with the cult streetwear la­bel Supreme last month, via lim­ited-edi­tion drops in pop-up stores around the world, a sales strat­egy em­braced by un­der-25s. Gucci, which has a strong and var­ied dig­i­tal base, was one of the first brands to dis­play its shows on Snapchat and has said that mil­len­ni­als make up al­most half its con­sumer base.

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