Louis Vuitton, Moncler, Givenchy, Fendi, Saint Laurent and Valentino are some of the luxury brands best positioned to ride out the current macroeconomic challenges in China, according to a new report from Exane BNP Paribas.
The bank’s luxury goods analysts said they just returned from two weeks in China, where they met with Chinese retailers, European brands and politicians to gauge market conditions.
The analyst team cited a variety of factors pressuring the luxury goods market and middle class consumer spending, including accelerating capital outflows and a tense, fragile political situation.
“The upshot: the all-important Chinese consumer will spend marginally more at home but less abroad. This means [estimated 2016] global growth will — at best — match [estimated 2015],” analysts Luca Solca, Melania Grippo and Guido Lucarelli wrote in their report entitled “Chinese Luxury: the Year of Monkey Business.”
Based on the analysts’ store visits, they concluded that full price sales improved in the fourth quarter versus the third quarter, from contraction in the low double digits to contraction in the mid single digits. But most luxury players remained in negative territory in mainland China in the last quarter of the year, they said.
Here are their brand and company specific conclusions:
– Louis Vuitton appears to be one of the few brands enjoying low-single-digit positive growth.
– Moncler, Givenchy, Fendi, Saint Laurent, and Valentino are “seen among the winners.”
– Prada continues to trade in midsingle-digit negative territory.
– Gucci is seen materially worse than [Prada’s performance] but should benefit from new outlet openings: Gucci has now 13 outlets in China.
– Bottega Veneta is seen trading negatively in the low double digits, but is quite active in the outlet business. “BV starts to appear short of ideas when it comes to product innovation, given how fickle Chinese consumers are, this is an issue,” the bank said.
– American accessible luxury brands such as Kate Spade, Tory Burch and Michael Kors are in positive territory. The exception is Coach. In terms of their European counterparts, Longchamp is positive while Furla is declining.
– In terms of Italian brands, Tod’s is “significantly better” than Salvatore Ferragamo but both are seen trading negatively.
– Cartier is experiencing a strong positive trend, probably benefitting from earlier price cuts.
– Exposure to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton could work short-term for investors. Kering is probably going to be OK in the end, as off-price activity should support sales.