FLORENCE Dec 4 European luxury goods makers
knocked back predictions of a boost to sales early next year,
saying that economic gloom will continue to discourage shoppers
from splashing out on designer dresses and leather handbags.
Consultancy Bain & Co had said that sales of luxury goods
should pick up steam from the second quarter of 2013 as economic
worries ease, but executives from some of the sector's top
companies at a fashion summit in Florence said that growth is
likely to continue to slow into the second half of next year.
"Markets are very volatile. We must keep a cool head and
define our forecasts day by day," Michele Norsa, chief executive
of Italian shoemaker Salvatore Ferragamo told
reporters at the summit on Tuesday.
"The first part of the year will be slower. In the second
part there will probably be a recovery. These are the signs we
are receiving from all our markets."
European companies such as Ferragamo, French conglomerate
LVMH and Italian peer Prada have escaped the
worst effects of the economic downturn this year thanks to
spending by wealthy tourists from Asia and Russia.
However, sales of Italian fashion in 2012 are expected to
finish down 4.4 percent against 2011, the head of the country's
fashion and textile body Sistema Moda Italia (SMI) said.
"Orders of goods to be delivered in the coming months have
shrunk and I don't expect this trend to change soon," SMI
chairman Michele Tronconi said at the summit.
Global sales of luxury goods are expected to grow 5 percent
to 212 billion euros ($277 billion) this year, compared with
increases of 13 percent last year and 8 percent in 2010,
according to a report by Bain and Italy's luxury goods trade
Analysts will be watching closely for an indication of the
outlook for this year and beyond when Prada reports its
third-quarter results on Thursday.
($1 = 0.7650 euros)
(Editing by David Goodman)