Kitson is an American brand of fashion and lifestyle. It was preparing on June 1st for the complete reopening of his Los Angeles store on Robertson Boulevard. After lockdown, the long-awaited return to normal. Too bad that just the weekend before the opening that same store was stormed by rioters inflaming the States: “They stole goods for 300,000 dollars”, comments the owner to WWD. It is the bitter Phase 2 of luxury. That, in the arduous path of reactivating retail in a world still conditioned by Coronavirus, it has to face two enormous turbulences. The first, we said, concerns the United States, where, following the assassination of George Floyd, all the main cities have become theatres of protests, clashes and violence. The second, front of instability, however, comes from Hong Kong. Where tensions with China have resumed.
The bitter Phase 2 of luxury
Los Angeles, as already mentioned. But also Chicago, New York and Pittsburgh, among others. During the last weekend of May there were few exceptions. In most cities, protest marches have been seen, many of which have been followed by riots. For distribution, regarding fashion but not only, the sacking and vandalism were the corollary. As WWD reports, California luxury stores, after witnessing the escalation of violence in other cities, have decided to barricade themselves in advance.
Instead of the expected return to trade, therefore, there have been scenarios as in Paris under the lash of the gilet jaunes. Fortifications, however, were not enough. In Los Angeles, a group of young people broke the wooden barrier raised to protect Gucci without much trouble, while Alexander McQueen was sacked. Rioters did not distinguish between market segments: the top of the range were unleashed as much as the mass market. And the same happened with Flight Club, the temple of high-end sneakers, and Adidas. The consequences are still to be calculated. The impact, in the midst of an already complex season, will not be soft.
Turmoils in Hong Kong
In the autumn of 2019, analysts have already agreed on the downsizing of Hong Kong’s commercial value. The very long season of tensions with the Chinese government would have resulted in the end of the “luxury metropolis” identity for the former British protectorate. Nonetheless, still in early April, Jing Daily could at least wonder if Hong Kong’s retail had a chance to return to pre-crisis levels: the metropolis was proving to be among the most efficient, in Asia and in the world, in managing contagions.
The month of May, however, was marked by the return of street protests against Beijing’s interference with the city’s autonomy sphere. The social turmoil not only undermines the chances of local distribution going back to business, but, by inserting itself into the problematic relations between the chancelleries of China and the United States, it has direct influences on the stock exchange, including luxury goods. The context, in the election year for the White House, does not promise anything good.
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