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Archive for Forbes

Why Are the Top Luxury Websites Incompatible With Apple iPad? via [psfk.com]

Top 10 Luxury Brands’ Sites Fail To Work On iPad

A review by the team at PSFK shows that most luxury brands are
unprepared to leverage the changes in web use that products like
Apple’s iPad and iPhone are driving. Out of the top 10 luxury brands
ranked by Forbes in 2009, none of their websites worked
sufficiently to match their desktop-web-experience. Only Gucci seems to have
created a site that can handle the technology requirements that Apple has placed on its
mobile devices.

The key issue is that all the key luxury brands have designed their
sites to use Adobe’s Flash. Flash offers an animated but
controlled web-design experience but Apple’s Steve jobs has said
that the iPad
and iPhone
will not use Flash software partly because of the drain it puts onto
battery life.

Apple has sold an estimated 1 million iPads in the first month. The
world’s luxury brands seem to be failing to keep up with a gadget
loving shopper who will spend between $500 and $1,000 on what may
consider as a supplemental device for a user. Later this month Apple
will start taking orders for the iPad from key luxury markets like
Japan. Apple has already cornered 46% of the smartphone market in Japan
and the world’s most mobile web savvy audience are bound to lap up
Apple’s new tablet.

When viewed through the iPad, many of the luxury brands’ websites
simply fail to load and instead ask the user to download Flash – a
request which is not an option for the device’s owner. Three brands of
the top 10 offer a store locator but the Chanel’s offering is
so poorly designed (read: not even contemplated) that it looks like it
was created for the worldwide web of 1993.

Brands need to realize that the iPad offers a different experience.
While some have invested in Apps to overcome the iPhone’s limitation –
the fairly light iPad with its 9 inch screen brings some focus back to
the browser driven web. Several commentators have suggested that the
change the way people will consume entertainment in the home but
research that the PSFK
consultancy team
has conducted for leading corporations has shown
that the device will fuel online retail too.

Unlike the cumbersome laptop, the iPad is a device that can used
while the user simultaneously enjoys other entertainment options like
watching TV. Brands and retailers need to create tablet friendly
electronic catalogs that allow people to browse as they’re curled up on a
sofa with the TV flickering in the background.

PSFK Review Of Top 10 Luxury Brands On The iPad:


Prada

Prada On The iPad

Nothing. Just a Flash logo.

Fendi

Fendi On The iPad

Fails to load. A message requests users to download Flash – an option
that is not available for iPad users.

Moet & Chandon

moet

Fails to load. A message requests users to download Flash – an option
that is not available for iPad users.

Cartier

cartier site doesn't load on the ipad

Nothing.

Hennessy

hennessy site doesnt load on the ipad

Fails to load. A message in various languages requests users to
download Flash – an option that is not available for iPad users.

Rolex

rolex site does not load on the ipad

Fails to load. A message in various languages requests users to
download Flash – an option that is not available for iPad users.


Channel

IMG_0010

IMG_0011

IMG_0013

Main page fails to function. The store listings have no design
element.


Gucci

Gucci On The iPad1

Gucci On The iPad1

Gucci On The iPad1

Gucci On The iPad1

Gucci On The iPad1

The store appears to function well and purchases can be made. Videos
are not viewable as they are currently served by Flash.


Hermes

Hermes On The iPad1

Hermes On The iPad1

Hermes On The iPad1

The brand messaging and store locator sections of the site fail to
load. The ecommerce store operates but images of the products fail to
appear.

Louis
Vuitton

Louis Vuitton On The iPad1

Louis Vuitton On The iPad1

Louis Vuitton On The iPad
A
basic site is offered with warning messages throughout asking the user
to download Flash. The catalog works but there is no purchase option.



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OpuluxeLtd.com Luxury Lifestyle Special Report: Platinum Brands via [Forbes]

Beyond The Balance Sheet: Platinum Brands

Christina Settimi and Kurt Badenhausen

The most valuable luxury brands will shine in a recovery.

image

In Pictures: Platinum Brands

To some, BMW seemed a bit out of touch with hard times when it rolled out an exuberant ad campaign called “Joy” this year. Turns out, the ad campaign is in tune with the opportunities BMW and other luxury brand makers anticipate as the recession fades.

Last year was the worst year ever for global luxury goods, with worldwide sales falling 8%. But in a look at the world’s most valuable luxury brands, Forbes identifies 10 that are poised to thrive in better economic times. These brands, including BMW and Louis Vuitton, share some qualities that help keep them strong even when wealthy consumers are curtailing spending.

The companies behind these brands emphasize their products’ quality, longevity and pleasure-giving features through marketing efforts that make it likely these brands will continue to do well, especially if luxury sales around the world grow by 4% to $210 billion this year, as predicted by Bain & Co., the Boston-based consulting firm.

Feng Li/Getty Images

Close

No. 10: Porsche

Parent Company: Porsche
Brand Value: $4.8 billion
Brand Sales: $8.7 billion

Statia Photography/Getty Images for Cartier

Close

No. 9: Cartier

Parent Company: Richemont
Brand Value: $5.4 billion
Brand Sales: $3.3 billion

Currently with 32 boutiques in 18 cities across China, Cartier CEO Bernard Foras has said he aims to make China its No. 1 market in three years with at least 55 boutiques.

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

Close

No. 8: Rolex

Parent Company: Rolex
Brand Value: $5.5 billion
Brand Sales: $3.4 billion

Rolex is the most profitable brand in watches. Sales are expected to be up 15% this year, fueled by sales in emerging markets led by China according to analyst Jon Cox of Kepler Capital Markets.

PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Close

No. 7: Chanel

Parent Company: Chanel
Brand Value: $5.6 billion
Brand Sales: $3.3 billion

Coco Chanel’s mantra: “Fashion fades, only style remains the same” is still the guiding force behind her brand. But what is equally important to Chanel’s appeal is its creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, one of the most recognizable men in fashion with his silver ponytail, dark sunglasses and black suit.

LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images

Close

No. 6: Hermes

Parent Company: Hermes
Brand Value: $5.7 billion
Brand Sales: $2.5 billion

The infamous waiting list for the Birkin bag, which retails between $6,000 and $100,000, is history for the 173-year old company. The company now aims to grow by expanding its customer base. It opened its first men’s only store in New York in February with a made-to-measure program aimed at providing custom apparel.

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Close

No. 5: Coach

Parent Company: Coach
Brand Value: $7.4 billion
Brand Sales: $3.2 billion

Coach’s strategy to cut prices last year–a move that resulted in it offering more than half of its products for under $300–paid off. Sales volume jumped and profits surged. The company is now focusing on middle-price-range products, and expanding its new pricing strategy in Europe.

CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images

Close

No. 4: Gucci

Parent Company: PPR
Brand Value: $8.2 billion
Brand Sales: $3.0 billion

With a new CEO at the helm last year, Gucci unveiled a brand strategy that included cutting production and multiple variations of the same style. It launched a new ad campaign promoting the brand’s heritage that featured Guccio Gucci describing his dream as an artist in Florence in 1921.

AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach

No. 3: Mercedes-Benz

Parent Company: Daimler AG
Brand Value: $18.8 billion
Brand Sales: $63.2 billion

While many automakers advertise price cuts, Mercedes emphasizes its company’s heritage: Its cars are the result of 100 years of German engineering. It is currently vying with BMW to be the biggest luxury auto brand in China and says it plans on outselling its German nemesis by 2011 with a number of cars designed exclusively for Chinese consumers.

AP Photo/Christophe Ena

No. 2: Louis Vuitton

Parent Company: LVMH
Brand Value: $19.0 billion
Brand Sales: $6.3 billion

In its 156 years, Louis Vuitton has held steadfast to a policy of zero discounting–a practice it says enriches the value of the brand. To remind its customers what they are paying for, the new brand campaign features artisans hand-finishing goods at a workshop table.

AP Photo/Grace Kassab

Close

No. 1: BMW

Parent Company: BMW
Brand Value: $19.9 billion
Brand Sales: $56.6 billion

BMW is gaining market share in China, the largest auto market in the world, by designing custom cars to meet the demands of Chinese consumers and tailoring its advertising to align with Chinese culture.

Few brands can sell luxury as a necessity and get away with it like Porsche. A recent ad for the new Porsche 911 reads: “…You strain to think of something else that has stayed this true to its ideals for 46 years. You come to the realization that, in the age of the superfluous and superficial, the unrooted and the unserious, the 911 is necessary. Very necessary. The Porsche 911. There is no substitute.”

Forbes’ Beyond the Balance Sheet department looks at the numbers behind the numbers–or ways of analyzing companies that are different from the usual metrics, such as book value and earnings. To identify the Platinum Brands among luxury goods, we looked at more than 30 leading brands in autos, retail, fashion and accessories to determine the world’s most valuable. We leaned on Jeffrey Parkhurst, managing director of business strategy at WPP ( WPPGY news people )-owned media agency Mindshare, to help value these brands.

The first step was to determine earnings before interest and taxes for each brand. Forbes averaged those earnings over the past three years and subtracted from earnings a charge of 8% of the brand’s capital employed, figuring a generic brand should be able to earn at least 8% on the capital employed.

Forbes applied the maximum corporate tax rate to that net earnings figure. Next, it allocated a percentage of those earnings to the brand based on the role that brands play in that industry. Brands are crucial when it comes to apparel and perfumes, but not so much, say, with airlines. Pricing and location are more important for them. To this net brand earning number, we applied the average price-to-earnings multiple over the past three years to arrive at the final brand value. For privately held outfits we applied an earnings multiple for a comparable company.

Beyond The Balance Sheet: Platinum Brands

pic

In Pictures
Featured

The companies that came out on top on our list of most valuable luxury brands fared reasonably well last year, one that was disastrous for many companies. Sales of Louis Vuitton, the marquee label of parent company LVMH, rose more than 10% in 2009 to $6.3 billion, despite the recession. Brand sales, which represent 75% of the fashion and leather goods segment of the company, had double-digit growth in the first quarter as well.

What helps set some of these brands apart? The makers of the world’s top luxury brands don’t apologize for the sky-high price tags attached to their products. LVMH’s Louis Vuitton, for one, has never discounted a single item, citing customer loyalty and product value as its reasons. That makes sense: Why would a customer pay full price for an item if they knew that in three months it might be had for 25% less?

Even when the top luxury companies introduce less expensive offerings, they often don’t advertise the price. When Mercedes-Benz introduced its C-Class, its most affordable sedan, it emphasized that it is a product of 100 years of German engineering, a key brand message. And most of the most valuable brands kept advertising during the recession: Louis Vuitton, for one, rolled out a celebrity-flecked campaign. In one print ad, dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov stands on a platform barefoot while photographer Annie Leibovitz watches him from the floor.

The makers of the world’s most valuable luxury brands know that a good portion of their future sales will come from emerging markets, especially China, where sales in the luxury goods market expected to increase 15% there this year, says Bain.

“With Asia being the growth market for luxury players, brands will tailor their product offerings to meet the needs of more diverse customer segments,” says Claudia D’Arpizio, Milan-based partner at Bain.

Research by Ritika Sinha



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World’s RICHEST man, Slim is a born wheeler-dealer via [Reuters]


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World’s richest man, Carlos Slim, a born wheeler-dealer

by Noel Randewich

MEXICO CITY
(Reuters) – Mexico‘s Carlos Slim, named the world’s richest man on
Wednesday, first showed a talent for business as a 10-year-old kid when
he filled his pockets with pesos selling drinks and snacks to his
family. 

Lifestyle |  Mexico
As a youngster he also kept accounting ledgers of what he earned and
spent and bought a government savings bond from which he learned
valuable lessons about compound interest.
More than half a century later Slim, 70, has amassed a fortune of
$53.5 billion, beating Microsoft founder Bill Gates to top the list of
the world’s richest people, according to a new ranking published by
Forbes magazine (www.forbes.com).
His far-flung business empire includes some of Mexico’s best-known
department stores, its biggest telecoms operator, hotels, restaurants,
oil drilling, building firms and Inbursa bank (GFINBURO.MX)
— making it hard to go a day in Mexico without paying him some money.
Outside Mexico Slim has holdings in such prestigious groups as
retailer Saks (SKS.N)
and New York Times Co (NYT.N).
His defining foray occurred in 1990 when he and his partners bought
creaking state telephone company Telmex (TELMEXL.MX)
for $1.7 billion. Turning it into a cash-making jewel, he spun off
America Movil (AMXL.MX)
and expanded it through acquisitions to become the world’s No. 4
wireless operator.
While critics accuse him of using a monopoly to build his fortune,
Slim has a simple philosophy about making money.
“Wealth is like an orchard,” he told Reuters in 2007. “With the
orchard, what you have to do is make it grow, reinvest to make it
bigger, or diversify into other areas.”
Cigar-smoking Slim’s trademark is his “Midas” touch, acquiring
struggling firms and turning them into cash cows.
In 2008, he bought a minority stake in the New York Times as the
stock tanked. Now, warrants he received for lending the publisher $250
million could net him more than $80 million and could lead to a 16
percent stake in the company for Slim, who says he has no interest in
becoming a U.S. media baron.
But Slim’s newspaper investment has ruffled feathers in the New York
media establishment. As investors speculated last week that he could
move to acquire more of the Times, media mogul Rupert Murdoch said he
doubted the controlling family would relinquish control to an outsider,
especially from abroad.
FRUGAL LIFESTYLE
Slim learned his first business lessons from his father, Julian Slim
Haddad, a Lebanese immigrant who came to Mexico in the early 1900s,
opened the “Star of the Orient” general store and bought properties
cheap during the Mexican Revolution.
In 1987, when stocks nosedived during one of Mexico’s many crises,
Slim saw opportunities where others feared disaster, picking up
low-priced shares and selling when they recovered.
“We know that crises are always temporary and there is no evil that
lasts 100 years, there is always an overshoot,” Slim once said. “When
there is a crisis that provokes an adjustment, an overreaction comes
along and things get undervalued.”
Slim’s enormous wealth stands starkly against his frugal lifestyle.
He has lived in the same house for about 40 years and drives an aging
Mercedes Benz, although it is armored and trailed by bodyguards. He
eschews private jets, yachts and other luxuries popular among Mexico’s
elite.
After studying engineering, Slim founded a real estate company and
worked as a trader on the Mexican stock exchange.
His wealth growing, he opened a brokerage in the mid-1960s and a
decade later he began his trademark trait of buying failing businesses,
including a cigarette company. He acquired department store and cafe
Sanborns, a mine operator and manufacturers of cables and tires.
By 1990 Slim had built the fortune he used with partners to buy
Telmex and launch his telecoms empire. America Movil now has 201
million customers from Brazil to the United States.
Slim has handed over the day-to-day operation of his companies to
his three sons and loyal business partners but remains clearly in
charge when appearing with them at media events.
He has become involved in combating poverty, illiteracy and poor
healthcare in Latin America and promotes sports projects for the poor,
but has never voiced plans to give chunks of his wealth to charity like
Gates or fellow billionaire Warren Buffett.
Businessmen, he says, do more good by creating jobs and wealth
through investment, “not by being Santa Claus.”
(Editing by Catherine
Bremer
and Eric
Walsh
)



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