The top European luxury companies with a significant women’s fashion component, ranked by 2002 sales

Some of the most important luxury firms reside in Europe. As everyone knows by now, 2002 was a bruising year for many companies selling upscale goods. The repercussions of 9/11 were still being felt in travel, and consumers reined in their spending as a result of the sluggish global economy. For some companies on this list the problems were more organic and the result of design or strategic business decisions. But many firms were buoyed by leather goods — blockbuster handbags with waiting lists for the luckiest. The forecast now seems more upbeat, with luxury consumers warming to the idea of doing what they do best — spending money.

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