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This week in luxury: Ralph Lauren, Hermès, Kering and Baselworld

This week in luxury: Ralph Lauren, Hermès, Kering and Baselworld

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Ralph Lauren paid $1.6 million to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle claims that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act when a manger at its Argentina subsidiary offered bribes to government workers to avoid inspection and customs requirements 2005-2009.

ralphThough a slight mishap on the brand’s part, coming clean will actually save the Ralph Lauren brand, per experts, since the marketer reported the discrepancy to the SEC when it was discovered during an internal meeting. Non-prosecution agreements are rewarded in instances in which companies or individuals cooperate in investigations, per WWD.

Even though Ralph Lauren had to cough up the fees – $882,000 to the Department of Justice and $735,000 to the Securities and Exchange Commission – it saved itself time, effort and more money had the brand been caught, maybe by someone else, later on.

In other news, Baselworld kicked off on Thursday in Switzerland, arguably the home of the watch and jewelry business. Marketers from all over the world are gathering to show off the latest and greatest jewelry and timepieces that are set to raise the bar in digital and technical innovation. The festival runs through May 2.

Finally, big-name luxury marketers are continuing to report first-quarter gains, further solidifying research showing that affluent consumers are continuing to grow. For example, Hermès posted a 10.3 percent sales increase, Kering – formerly PPR and owner of Gucci, Saint Laurent Paris and Boucheron – is up 1 percent in sales and Interparfums – which owns Jimmy Choo, Lanvin, Burberry and Montblanc fragrances – posted first-quarter sales up 33.4 percent.