Luxury Biz Booms Thanks to World's Nouveau Riche

Brazil, Indonesia, China fuel surge for high-end goods
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2012 8:30 AM CST
Luxury Biz Booms Thanks to World's Nouveau Riche
A woman looks at a Bulgari shop window in Rome's fashion district.   (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

The world economy may be troubled, even in crisis in many areas, but don't tell that to the rich—luxury goods had a great 2011, thanks to all the new millionaires and billionaires, especially from the developing world, reports the Wall Street Journal. Sales at Prada were up 33.1% and at Hermes they rose 18%. LVMH reported a 20% growth in sales, while the luxury division of PPR, the owner of Gucci, was up 22.1%. PPR has plans to open 110 new stores this year, half in Asia, to bring its total number of stores to 900. And men's goods are expanding rapidly.

"We're lucky to be operating in a segment that has become very international," says the CEO of PPR, which also owns Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, and Balenciaga. "There's structural growth in Asian markets, and it's a certainty that for the next 10 years it will grow." But it's not all champagne and cigars for the luxury industry—several brands say there's too much growing demand. Hermes has had problems making enough Kelly and Birkin bags, and LVMH cannot produce enough high-end cognac. (Read more LVMH stories.)

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