Warc, 6 August 2013
PARIS: In a further sign that luxury brands are expanding beyond fashion and accessories, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has bought a five-star hotel in the Caribbean and has developed plans for other top hospitality locations.
The world's largest luxury goods producer last week bought the Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France on the French Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy and has also recently acquired the Cova café in Milan, which is located next to Prada's store on the grand Montenapoleone.
The group's Cheval Blanc hotel division is also converting the historic Parisian department store La Samaritaine into an 80-suite, five-star, hotel that will come with a spa and hanging gardens.
It is also expanding in the Middle East with plans for luxury hotels at Amoun in Egypt and al-Sodah in Oman. And its new complex in the Maldives, just north of the capital Malé, will contain 45 private villas, which guests will reach by a seaplane designed for Cheval Blanc.
LVMH's strategy is about adding experiences for its wealthy customers, according to analyst Jane Kellock. She said it means luxury groups could "offer something truly unique and memorable".
Laura Ford, of London-based consultancy Futurebrand, said LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault is aiming "to own the whole spectrum, to have a 360-degree view on what the customer is doing, what they are buying, what they are eating, where they are staying."
"It's a move to keep relevant with consumers whose appetite for luxury and definition of luxury are constantly changing," she added.
Ermenegildo Zegna, CEO of the eponymous Italian luxury fashion house, observed that "being innovative along the desires and the interests of these well-off, whom we don't want to get bored, is the name of the game".
Armando Branchini, founder of the Italian consultancy Intercorporate, also noted that Bernard Arnault is mindful of the mistakes made by the Pierre Cardin brand, which was damaged in the 1980s by overextending its exposure on a huge range of products.
He will mitigate that risk by only adding brands that excel in specific businesses, he explained.
Data sourced from Bloomberg, Malay Mail; additional content by Warc staff