Slowing growth and rising debt hit China luxury brand sales

Slowing growth and rising debt hit China luxury brand sales

Over the last several months, we’ve received several pieces of data that not only point to a slowing global economy, particularly at Europe and China but also to growing worries over the consumer’s ability to spend. We’ve covered the US data points rather thoroughly on this episode of the Cocktail Investing Podcast as part of our Middle-class Squeeze investing theme. When it comes to China, from the CEIC shows why luxury goods companies associated with our Living the Life investing theme are seeing falling sales. Per the CEIC, China’s household debt as a percentage of GDP surged to 53.2% in December, from 36% five years earlier. While that remains below the global average of 62%, it’s the pace of growth that has caused concern likely leading to either a re-think or retrenchment in Chinses consumer spending.

Factor in the recent problems associated with Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft that are likely to crimp international air travel, and the outlook for luxury goods companies and others associated with our Living the Life investing theme, at least in the near-term, look for less vibrant than they have in several years. Casting a shadow as well is the latest pushout in US-China trade talks that appear to have slipped to June from March/April.

Prada SpA shares fell to the lowest close since 2016 as slower Chinese spending contributed to an unexpected drop in the Italian fashion house’s annual profit.

The Hong Kong-listed luxury group attributed a slump in Asia mostly to Chinese tourists reining in spending in Hong Kong and Macau because of the weakness in the yuan. Other luxury brands, including Kering SA’s Gucci, have seen the impact of softer buying by Chinese tourists offset by increased spending on the mainland, but Prada failed to get a similar boost from Chinese spending at home, said Citigroup analysts led by Thomas Chauvet.

Prada’s China sales were flat for the year, a “significant swing” after a first-half gain of 17 percent, Citigroup said. Monday’s stock plunge after the disappointing earnings shaved $864 million off the company’s market value.

Chinese consumers have turned more cautious amid the slowest economic expansion in almost three decades and a trade war with the U.S. While cars and iPhones have seen bigger slumps so far, Prada’s results could spark worry that China’s newly wealthy middle class is scaling back on high-end purchases. For an industry that relies on Chinese demand for 30 percent of $1 trillion in global luxury spending, that’s a chilling prospect.

Source: Prada Loses $864 Million in Value as China Slump Hits Profit – Bloomberg

Aspirational Products Drive Affordable Luxury Brands to Blow the Doors Off Mainstream Retail

Aspirational Products Drive Affordable Luxury Brands to Blow the Doors Off Mainstream Retail

 

Don’t let all the bad news from domestic brick & mortar retailers cloud your view of the overall retail landscape as it would mislead you into thinking that it was doom and gloom for all retail. Looking at the performance from Affordable Luxury retailers like Kering, LVMH, Burberry and Hermes, that’s certainly not the case.

The BI Europe Luxury Goods Top Peers index has jumped 8 percent this year, amid signs that appetite for expensive handbags, silk scarves and timepieces is rebounding. While the industry had grappled with ebbing demand in China and a slowdown in tourism in Europe after terrorist attacks, a rebounding China and the Chinese New Year are likely to stoke demand for our companies that fit our Affordable Luxury investing theme.

Gucci’s $2,000 Sylvie leather shoulder bags and $1,190 studded leather pumps are flying off the shelves, propelling parent company Kering SA to its fastest sales growth in four years and further lifting spirits in the hard-hit luxury-goods industry.

The Italian fashion brand’s revenue advanced 21 percent in the fourth quarter, almost twice as fast as analysts expected, Kering said Friday. Full-year sales at the business, Kering’s largest, exceeded 4 billion euros ($4.3 billion) for the first time as creative director Alessandro Michele reignited interest in the label.

Source: Gucci’s Record Sales Propel French Luxury House Kering – Bloomberg