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Luxury is Back!

Luxury is Back!

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The outlook for the luxury goods market has improved significantly in recent months, boosted by a stronger-than-expected rebound in the United States and Europe and surging demand in China, consultancy Bain & Co said.

Bain raised its 2011 growth forecast for luxury sales to 8 percent at constant currencies from a 3-5 percent range, after recent sales data from groups such as LVMH, Burberry, PPR and Tod’s comfortably beat market expectations.

“The surprise was mainly in the U.S. and Europe,” said Claudia d’Arpizio, a Bain partner in Milan and lead author of a study carried out with Italy’s luxury trade body Altagamma.

Strong tourist flows in Europe coupled with a pick-up in sales at U.S. department stores contributed to the recovery, Tuesday’s report said.

If customers tightened their purse strings in 2009, spooked by the financial crisis, and 2010 was the year they started loosening them again, 2011 should see a return to normal luxury goods consumption, in line with historical trends.

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“Luxury shame is now over,” d’Arpizio said, adding that customers were becoming less hesitant to pay full price.

Bain also said it believes luxury sales rose 8 percent last year at constant currencies, up from a previous 6 percent estimate. In nominal terms, global luxury goods sales grew 12 percent last year, against a previous 10 percent.

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