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Louis Vuitton thriving despite hard times

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The economic downturn and job losses in international business haven’t hurt the local appetite for Louis Vuitton’s luxury handbags.

“The store has been doing extremely well, that is part of the reason we have invested in renovating it,” said Jean-Philippe Hecquet, Louis Vuitton vice-president for Canada and Bermuda.

Mr Hecquet along with the president and CEO of Louis Vuitton North America, Valerie Chapoulaud-Floquet, are both in Bermuda to mark the reopening of the Front Street boutique after a major facelift.

Ms Chapoulaud-Floquet said the product line has been expanded and the floor space renovated to be able to show 50 percent more Louis Vuitton handbags, luggage and accessories, including ties, jewellery and sunglasses.

In addition, an entrance has been created on Front Street, so for the first time customers can walk in through the front instead of the side via Butterfield Place.

Current hot sellers include bags from the new Empreinte collection, including the “artsy calfskin” priced at $2,730, and the monogram “fetish locket” which sells for $3,100.

Ms Chapoulaud-Floquet said the trend for fall is more leather and more colours.

The Louis Vuitton store has been in Bermuda since 1997.

It is owned directly by Louis Vuitton and a Bermuda partner Gregory Tolaram. It employs a staff of four including store manager Marie-France Thompson.

Mr Hecquet said the Louis Vuitton Bermuda store caters mostly to a local market, and not tourists.

“Business has been growing steadily,” Mr Hecquet said. “We have a very loyal customer here in Bermuda and it is a very sophisticated market.”

Ms Chapoulaud-Floquet said Louis Vuitton’s consistency, exceptional quality and the “balance of tradition and modernity” continue to be a hit with customers.

Louis Vuitton is the world’s most valuable luxury brand, according to a report by Bloomberg News. The brand, owned by Paris-based LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has a value of $24.3 billion.

The company recently said it saw no signs of slowing demand for luxury products in Europe or North America.

Reopening: Present at Louis Vuitton's official reopening on Front Street were (from left) Valerie Chapoulad-Floquet, president and CEO of Louis Vuitton North America; service associates Sah-Shay Johnstone and Laurie Thompson; service leader Carly Brangman and Jean-Phillippe Hequet, vice-president of stores Canada and Bermuda, and store manager Marie-France Thompson. (Photo by Mark Tatem)
Luxury buy: Louis Vuitton Bermuda store manager Marie-France Thompson holds one of the new Empreinte Collection handbags. This one sells for $2,730. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published September 30, 2011 at 10:03 am (Updated September 30, 2011 at 10:03 am)

Louis Vuitton thriving despite hard times

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