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Will LVMH Signal an End to Luxury’s Slump?

The conglomerate’s results will be a key indicator as to whether consumers are getting excited about high-end fashion again. That, plus what else to watch for in the coming week.
View of the facade of a Louis Vuitton store with christmas decorations
LVMH’s fourth-quarter results on Thursday will provide the definitive read on the state of luxury in 2024. (Shutterstock)

Haute couture shows start in Paris this week. The ultra-expensive, handcrafted looks on display there are among the few luxury items brands can still count on their customers to buy these days.

The category is off to a grim start this year, with a slew of bleak sales and profit warnings from brands such as Burberry and Hugo Boss. The slowdown appears to be global, and driven by a pullback from aspirational shoppers who are most vulnerable to inflation and economic uncertainty (quiet luxury purveyor Brunello Cucinelli and high-end jewellery focused Richemont have fared better as they cater to the wealthiest consumers, the reason couture labels likely also have little to fear from the current moment). Though inflation is coming under control in most major economies, it may take some painful discounting to lure those entry level customers back into stores.

LVMH’s fourth-quarter results on Thursday will provide the definitive read on the state of luxury in 2024. The conglomerate has the biggest window into just about every geography and strata of the market, whether it’s how entry-level Louis Vuittion handbags are selling in China, appetite for Dior couture in the Middle East or global beauty sales at Sephora.

Expect a mix of optimism and caution: Loro Piana’s sales are almost certainly surging right alongside Cucinelli’s, and perhaps executives can make the case for modest improvement in the US and China at megabrands Louis Vuitton and Dior. Among LVMH’s smaller labels, Celine and Loewe are starting to gain critical mass commercially.

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Investors have low expectations. LVMH shares are trading close to the lows they hit after reporting a shock slowdown in sales growth in October. A strong showing will likely lift the entire category. Another weak report will be interpreted as a sign luxury brands haven’t yet hit bottom.

What Else to Watch for This Week

Sunday

Paris men’s shows conclude with Sacai, Rhude, GMBH and others.

Monday

Haute Couture Week begins with Schiaparelli, Dior and Giambattista Valli

Tuesday

Couture Week: Chanel, Giorgio Armani Privé

New Hampshire presidential primary; Donald Trump will all-but lock up the Republican nomination with a strong showing here.

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Wednesday

Couture Week: Elie Saab, Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino

Tod’s reports results

Thursday

LVMH and Levi’s report earnings

Couture Week: Fendi, Maison Margiela

First reading on fourth-quarter US GDP

The Week Ahead wants to hear from you! Send tips, suggestions, complaints and compliments to brian.baskin@businessoffashion.com.

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