China, Mulberry and the end of “luxury shame”

Isaac Mostovicz writes that that the culture of "luxury shame" is officially over...

Share prices at Burberry and Mulberry are currently at record highs, while private equity is looking to buy any luxury brands that hoist a for-sale sign. In stark comparison, the high street is struggling financially.

As high profile retailers such as Jane Norman and Habitat go into administration, British luxury brands are going from strength to strength, both at home and in global markets. They are particularly thriving in China and the rest of Asia, and it is forecast that the Chinese luxury sector is set to be worth £9.3 billion by 2014, almost double its current worth, with Britain on its heels with a predicted worth of £9.4 billion by the end of 2015.

A recent Sunday Times article describes how a two-tier economy has emerged from the recession and suggests the stall in the high street and the parallel lift in luxury stems from the economic confidence of shoppers. Whilst poorer segments of society might be feeling less optimistic about consuming (with public spending cuts affecting them alongside food and fuel inflation) the richer segments of society are feeling more confident after the recession and are back to spending their money on expensive items.

It seems clear that the culture of “luxury shame”  – where bankers’ wives would ask for their designer purchases to be packaged in plain paper bags – is officially over.

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