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LVMH aims to become leading luxury start-up hub in Europe

The big luxury conglomerate recently announced a start-up programme to support 50 businesses a year in Paris.

France's LVMH is helping projects by upcoming entrepreneurs in the luxury goods space, including a start-up whose software might help detect counterfeits. The owners of Louis Vuitton, aim to support the new businesses by hosting them in a mega-campus where they can collaborate with its in-house brands.

LVMH, the world's biggest luxury goods group, is following in the footsteps of French cosmetics giant L'Oréal in grabbing a corner of Station F, a vast startup incubator in Paris where it offers rent-free space to the startups.

"The idea is to animate and activate those conversations around the things that might affect the luxury industry," said Ian Rogers, who is a former Apple executive who joined LVMH in 2015 as chief digital officer.

Paris is among one of the major European cities bidding to displace London's dominance in the startup scene as BREXIT looms and President Emmanuel Macron pushes a pro-reform agenda to promote business and investment.

Station F was launched last year by French billionaire Xavier Niel, who is also the partner of Delphine Arnault, an executive at Vuitton and daughter of LVMH boss Bernard Arnault.

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Online Shoppers unhappy with Zara's offerings

The recent shift to online shopping isn’t working in the interest of retail brand Zara, as its exposes its issues with the fit, product quality and online service, according to Credit Suisse analyst Simon Irwin.

Comments about Zara products “are poor and declining” on consumer-review websites Trustpilot and Sitejabber, the analyst wrote in a note previewing owner Inditex SA’s first-half results on Sept. 12.

“We believe the ‘treasure trove’ nature of a Zara shop is still a better experience off-line,” Irwin wrote. While online is driving like-for-like sales growth, that can have a negative impact on gross margin, he also said.

The broker estimates that the Web will represent about 10 percent of Inditex’s sales this year, up from 2.4 percent in 2013. It also expects 2018 to be the sixth consecutive year of Ebit margin decline.

Inditex shares had their worst week in seven years last week, falling 8.7 percent after Morgan Stanley published a scathing report saying the retailer has gone from great to good.

Credit Suisse lowered its price target to 24 euros from 25 euros and maintained its underperform recommendation.

Viral Racist Video forces Nike to Close Stores in South Africa

Nike's decision comes months after H&M closed down outlets in South Africa following protests against the infamous ad that featured a black child with a hoodie with the text “coolest monkey in the jungle.” Race remains a highly sensitive issue in South Africa more than two decades after the end of apartheid.

While the company didn’t comment on the temporary closure, it released a statement saying the firm “opposes discrimination and has a long-standing commitment to diversity, inclusion and respect.”

In the online video that went viral last week, a white man expressed his appreciation for the beach he was visiting by commenting that there weren’t any black people to be seen — using an offensive racial slur. He was promptly fired from the food producer that is owned by his family, Eyewitness News reported, adding that his wife works for Nike.

The stores have reopened as of Friday last week.

CK closing its Ready-To-Wear Business

Calvin Klein is closing down its luxury collection business, closing its offices in Milan and making staff redundant in New York, according to a source. Michelle Kessler-Sanders, the president of the 205W39NYC ready-to-wear business, will leave the company in June 2019. Overall, about 100 people, or 1 percent of PVH's global workforce, will be affected.

After Calvin Klein parted ways with chief creative officer Raf Simons at the end of 2018, they said it was rethinking its approach to the luxury market, on a strategy that would “[offer] an unexpected mix of influences and moving at an accelerated pace."

In January, it was announced that the brand would close its 654 Madison Avenue flagship store, which Simons renovated in 2017, in addition to other changes, some of which came to fruition very soon.

The brand’s sales come from their underwear and denim lines, much of which is produced by third-party licensing partners. But chief executive Steve Shiffman still plans to develop what the source called "aspirational" products. The search for a new design director to lead that effort continues, but it's presumed that the designer won’t be as high profile as Simons.

Nike Loses More People Amid Misconduct Probe

Nike Inc.’s Converse brand lost its chief marketing officer to streetwear label Supreme, Business of Fashion reports.

Julien Cahn resigned from Converse earlier this year and left the company in February for a marketing role at the up-and-coming brand. Cahn joined Converse in 2016 from parent Nike. Several executives have recently left Nike in the wake of an internal probe into misconduct, though Cahn’s departure wasn’t related, people said. Nike began an internal review of misconduct last month, after complaints from employees. A handful of executives have exited, including Trevor Edwards, who was one of the favorites to succeed Chief Executive Officer Mark Parker.

Last week, an analyst’s report said nine Nike employees at director level or higher, including Cahn, had left the company in the past 35 days amid “recent cultural turmoil.” Nike executives go from director to senior director and then vice president. The departures are seen adding additional “downside risk” to Nike’s long-term growth trajectory, Sam Poser of Susquehanna Financial Group wrote in a note to clients.

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