Archive

  • An armed man walked into a Harry Winston jewelery shop in Cannes without opening fire, before walking away with €15 million ($16M) in diamonds. A man in his thirties showed up at the store on January 18 at the store on the city's famed Croisette waterfront promenade and initially passed himself off as a customer. "He asked to see diamond ornaments on behalf of a sponsor. The saleswoman was suspicious and gave him a catalogue," the prosecutor said.  His face uncovered, hidden only behind sunglasses.

  • Birks, a group that operates 46 luxury stores in Canada, Florida and Georgia reported an 11% sales increase this holiday season. In the U.S. sales increased by 16% whereas in Canada sales grew by 3% compared to the previous holiday season. The growth in sales was the result of the company’s success in growing its average sales transactions and conversion rates, reflecting the success of the company’s long-term sales growth strategies.

  • Richemont, the second largest luxury goods company in the world, just shared their trading update for the third quarter ended December 31 2016, reporting an overall 5% uptick at constant exchange rates to $3,292.5 million and a 6% rise at actual exchange rates. In Europe, sales increased by 3% in the third quarter, in contrast with the 17% decline registered in the first six months of the year. The report suggests the increase was primarily due to local sales and tourist purchases in the United Kingdom as well as strong jewelry sales across the region.

  • Italian private equity firm Clessidra said it has agreed to sell an 85 percent stake in high-end jeweller Buccellati to Chinese conglomerate Gangtai Group, according to Forbes. The Buccellati family, who in 1919 founded the jeweler famous for its ornate, lace-like creations, will retain a 15 percent stake. A source familiar with the deal said the acquisition gave Buccellati an enterprise value of 270 million euros ($282 million) or 6.6 times its revenues.

  • The Timex Group Swiss Luxury Division - which manages the watch business for luxury fashion brands Salvatore Ferragamo, Versace, Versus and Nautica through licensing agreements - is the latest company to leave the Baselworld watch and jewelry show, writes Anthony DeMarco for Forbes. According to Paolo Marai, president and CEO of the division of the Timex Group, the money the company spends participating in Baselworld - $3 million - could be better spent elsewhere. “I think that Baselworld is a huge investment for everybody and is in my opinion losing some effectiveness,” he said.

  • Rare Diamond House – Antwerp (RDH) holds the world’s largest selection of investment grade D Flawless diamonds of 10 carats and up. Since 2008, RDH has been involved in buying, selling or valuing the majority of diamonds of this caliber that have appeared at auction.

  • In her recent article for Bloomberg, "Happy Couples Don't Buy Diamonds Online the Way They Used To," Polly Mosendz analyzes the changing landscape for diamond engagement rings - and in particular the online sales thereof. She notes firstly the trend for diamond rings to change hands online in way they never did previously, resulting in tremendous growth in the second-hand market.

  • According to a new study by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) entitled “Chinese Consumer in 2030” (paywall) released this week, 35 percent of China’s population is predicted to be “upper-middle class” or above by 2030, reports Jing Daily. EIU's summary introducing the report states, "The traditional drivers of China’s economy, investment and exports, are struggling, but the country’s consumers keep spending.

  • On 15 November in Geneva, Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction will be led by the exceptional jewels of Bulgari, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, David Webb, Harry Winston and Boehmer et Bassenge, the newly launched Maison de Haute Joaillerie.

  • Jing Daily writes that according to Bain & Company’s annual industry "Bain Luxury Study" report, 2016 marks the first time in history that Chinese consumers contributed less to global luxury sales than they did the year before, despite China’s luxury market growth re-emerging into positive territory after two years of recession.

  • The weakening of the yuan against the Hong Kong dollar is making life even more difficult for the city’s retailers, with brands forced to raise prices of local goods for mainland visitors to offset the yuan's fall amid an already weak tourism industry, writes the South China Morning Post.

  • LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group, recorded a 4% increase in revenue, reaching $29 billion (€26.3 billion), for the first nine months of 2016, the group announced in a press release. Organic revenue grew 5% compared to the same period in 2015. With organic revenue growth of 6%, Q3 saw an acceleration compared to the first half of the year. Asia showed a significant improvement during the quarter. The United States remains well positioned, as does Europe.

  • Earlier this week, Michelle Graff of National Jeweler reported that Tiffany's had been awarded $5.5 million in their legal dispute with Costco. A New York jury has now ruled that wholesale merchandiser Costco must pay them an additional $8.25 million, potentially bringing the total to $13.75 million pending the judges verdict. 

  • With its industry overview announcing that, "Exports of Swiss watches fell in the first half of 2016 to CHF 9.5 billion ($9.8bn) from CHF 10.2 billion ($10.5bn) in 2015. This is the lowest level since 2011. In July and August the decline continued.

  • Richemont, which owns the Cartier jewelry and watches maison among other units in the luxury sector, issued a profit warning on Wednesday after recording a drop in sales. The results reflected the challenges luxury goods companies face from weaker demand in Asia and a decline in tourism in Europe, the Wall Street Journal reported. Geneva-based Richemont said sales fell 14% for the five months through August from the previous year at actual exchange rates. At constant exchange rates, sales declined 13%.

  • In his latest contribution to the diamond debate, "Diamond Trade a Medical Diagnosis: Self-Destructive" Melvin Moss, president at Regal Imports Ltd, argues for a unified marketing strategy - together with a standardized grading system - to benefit all in the diamond value chain. Currently, the situation is one where each company is promoting its own brand, thereby working against the interests of the diamond industry as a whole. "The multitude of new proprietary brands ... are making generic diamond marketing complicated.

  • LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group, has provided a view of the state of the luxury goods market with its results for the first half of 2016, with revenue up 3% to €17.2 billion. The financial results were in line with analysts' estimates. Organic revenue growth was 4% compared to the same period in 2015. The American market is dynamic, while Europe remains on track, with the exception of France, which has been affected by a decrease in tourism. Meanwhile, Asia improved steadily during the period, the firm said in a statement.

  • Upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co. is gathering famous faces in a campaign using the tagline 'Some style is legendary'. Included in the campaign are Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, actress Elle Fanning, model/activist Christy Turlington-Burns and model Natalie Westling. The campaign is being directed by Grace Coddington, the former creative director, and now creative director-at-large, of Vogue magazine.

  • A matte white Diamond Himalaya Niloticus crocodile diamond Birkin 30 with 18k white gold and diamond hardware was sold for $300,168 (HK$2.33M) by auction house Christie's for a private Asian collector, making it the most expensive handbag ever sold. Described as a piece of "fashion history": "The diamond pieces created by Hermes are exceptional, but none are nearly as iconic as the Himalaya," Christie's said in a press release prior to the sale.

  • Luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. is aiming to boost sales of wristwatches due to a slowdown in the jewelry market. Tiffany-made watches could account for 10 percent of the company’s sales within a decade, according to Nicola Andreatta, head of the firm's timepiece business, from just 1 percent last year. If it succeeds in hitting that target, it would likely make Tiffany one of the world’s top 10 watch brands, he told Bloomberg.

  • Luxury end diamonds are taking a hit from lower demand globally, with Graff Diamonds reporting a drop in sales and profits last year as tougher market conditions in the worldwide gem industry hit the high-end jeweler. Revenue plunged 32 percent to $500 million, while profit dropped 74 percent to $32 million in 2015, Graff Diamonds said in a filing to the UK’s Companies House, a registrar for businesses, Rapaport reported. Revenue from countries outside the U.K., where the company is based, dropped 34 percent to $464.1 million, while U.K. sales rose 11 percent to $36.1 million.

  • Giant global luxury firm Richemont, which owns Cartier and Montblanc among its other subsidiaries, gives a comprehensive picture of the state of the luxury market with its results for the fiscal year ending March 31. The company's results were impacted by the power of the Swiss franc, a crackdown on corruption in China, overstocking by dealers, and the low pace of economic growth around the world as well as geopolitical uncertainty. Richemont’s sales rose 6% to €11.1 billion, while net profit was €2.23 billion, below the €2.39 billion analysts had been expecting.

  • Swiss jeweler De Grisogono SA has acquired the rights to market a 404-carat rough diamond which it bought from Dubai trader Nemesis International DMCC. The giant diamond was discovered by Lucapa Diamond Co at its Lulo mine in Angola. Nickolas Polak, a director of Nemesis International, declined to disclose the price for which the stone had been sold, but in February Lucapa said it sold the 404-carat diamond for $22.5 million, Bloomberg reported.

  • The luxury goods market should pick up in 2017, aided by resurgent demand in the United States and China, after hitting a low this year, according to business consultancy Bain & Co. The approximate $285 billion luxury industry is likely to see sales growth this year of around 1% at constant exchange rates compared with 1.5% in 2015. "I think this year could be a low point for the industry," Claudia d'Arpizio, a Bain partner and lead author of studies on the luxury sector, told Reuters on the fringes of the New York Times International luxury conference in Versailles, outside Paris.

  • Luxury products group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton posted an increase in revenue on the year before of 4% to 8.6 billion euros for the first quarter 2016. "The U.S. market is strong and Europe remains well oriented except for France which is affected by a fall in tourism," the firm said in a statement. "Asian markets are varied, but Japan continues to progress." The company's Watches & Jewelry unit recorded organic revenue growth of 7% in the first quarter of 2016, outperforming the market, it reported.

  • China is raising charges on packages ordered from abroad and cracking down on smugglers who carry in suitcases full of luxury goods, in a move to encourage shopping at home and diminish a grey market that shoppers use to avoid tax, according to a Reuters report. Whereas Chinese shoppers account for a third of global sales of luxury goods, sales that actually take place in mainland China account for only a fifth.

  • Luxury haute couture brand Bicion and designer Dan Gamache have produced a pair of the world's most expensive trainers - a pair of custom Li-Ning Dwyane Wade shoes decked out with hundreds of carats of white diamond pieces and blue sapphires set into gold - costing $4 million. The trainers were unveiled in New York. They will be auctioned off to benefit the Soles4Souls - a US-based charity that collects new and used shoes and redistributes them through direct donations to people in need.

  • Swiss watch exports were negative for the eighth consecutive month in February, with a value of $1.75 billion (1.7 billion francs) – a decline of 3.3% on the year, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported in a statement. The export figures were significantly influenced by developments in the Hong Kong market. Wristwatches recorded a less pronounced fall in value, down 2.0%, but bimetallic timepieces dragged the figures down, while steel products registered an upturn.

  • Despite an economic slowdown, the Indian luxury market, including high-end jewelry grew by 25% last year, reaching $15 billion, and recent studies in the country provide encouraging news for the future of the Indian luxury market which has seen many global players enter it in recent years. The luxury market is seen growing by 30-35% over the next three years.

  • Fourth-quarter revenue for French luxury goods maker Kering SA beat analysts' estimates as the Gucci brand showed signs of a turnaround, according to a report by Bloomberg. The firm, previously known as PPR, reported an 8% rise in sales compared with a forecast by analysts of half that, with Gucci reporting its strongest results for three years. The firm reported high volumes of sales of jewelry in the quarter. Sales in Japan were strong – rising 14% last year – and compared starkly with results in Hong Kong and Macau which have been hit by lower numbers of visitors from Mainland China.

  • Harry Winston has released a new limited edition timepiece, the Countdown to a Cure Timepiece, to benefit amfAR's (The American Foundation for AIDS Research) efforts to develop a cure for HIV/AIDS. The timepiece, which has been exclusively designed for the campaign, is part of Harry Winston’s Midnight Collection.

  • The New York Times reports French luxury group LVMH, the world's largest by sales, recorded a €6.6bn (US$7.2bn) profit last year, up 16% compared to 2014. Total sales amounted to US$38.8bn, up 6% YoY or double of what analysts estimated previously. Strong sales in the US, Europe and Japan outweighed slow business in China, where the luxury group recently closed several stores.

  • The United States and European nations lifted oil and financial sanctions on Iran and released roughly $100 billion of its assets after international inspectors concluded that the country had followed through on promises to dismantle large sections of its nuclear program. Nuclear sanctions have been in place since 2006, while other sanctions stretch back decades. The announcement came after days and weeks of secret high-level diplomacy - particularly by American Secretary of State John Kerry - and the release of long-held prisoners on both sides.

  • A study by Assocham, the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India, expects the Indian market for luxury goods is to grow from its current level of $14.7 billion to $18.3 billion by end 2016, reports GJEPC. "This translates into a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 25%, the study revealed". GJEPC further reports that the categories with high growth rates in 2015 such as luxury jewelry and personal care, electronics, SUV cars and fine dining are expected to grow 30-35 % over the next three years.

  • International Watch writes: As the Chinese Year of the Monkey begins February 8, 2016, watch companies have begun releasing models with a primate theme that commemorate the year. According to Chinese zodiac lore, people born during the year of this sign are clever and intelligent, especially in their career and wealth. They are said to be lively, flexible, quick-witted and versatile. Yet they still have shortcomings, according to the seers, including an ‘impetuous temper and a tendency to look down upon others.’

  • Tiffany & Co. has reclaimed its position this year as the leader of an index published by business intelligence firm L2 Inc, maintaining 
a 14-point lead over runner-up Cartier "based partly on its unparalleled SEO performance on competitive category keywords like 'engagement ring.' The brand also distinguished itself on social media with campaigns like 'Will You?' and 'Concierge of Love' – an interactive Valentine’s Day campaign pairing social media programming with an interactive gift guide on the brand site.

  • The holiday season has persuaded some luxury brands, including Bulgari and Montblanc, to make a strong impression on consumers by letting them interact and discover their products rather than simply pushing them, reports Luxury Daily. Consumers are saturated with advertisements and marketing in the holiday season, so laying off of products and guiding consumers to their own decisions helps consumers feel like they are avoiding the commercialization of the holidays.

  • Tiffany & Co. shares rose on Tuesday after the upscale jeweler's stock was upgraded to buy from hold by investment house Jefferies. Analysts at the firm substantially raised forecasts for Tiffany's shares – to $100 from $88. In a note to clients, the firm said there was "a rare opportunity to get a high-quality company at a discount," and that Tiffany is a "powerful" and stable luxury brand that is improving its systems and supply chain.

  • The luxury retail sales decline in Hong Kong brought on by lackluster mainland Chinese tourist numbers is set to carry on through 2016, according to a new report. The report by commercial real estate services firm CBRE called 'Hong Kong Commercial Real Estate Review & 2016 Preview' predicts that prime high street retail rents in Hong Kong will have declined by 20 percent by the end of 2015, and will drop a further 10-15 percent in 2016. As Chinese tourist numbers have dropped, luxury boutiques have been hit the hardest in an ongoing retail slump this year.

  • Dominion Diamond's CanadaMark has announced a project to partner with jewelry designer Kara Ross on the December launch of "Diamonds Unleashed", a brand to promote and support women's empowerment. The mission is to engineer a great rethink about how diamonds are bought, given and perceived and then to use that shift as a platform to address issues that enable women to achieve their potential.