Louis Vuitton owner LVMH on the future of retail


Due to social distancing, shoppers wear protective masks while queuing outside Louis Vuitton when the South Coast Plaza reopens.

Allen J. Cockroaches | Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

LONDON – There are questions about the future of retail, but French luxury goods giant LVMH has no doubt what it will be like.

“We see the future in two ways: being primarily retail stores because the customer experience in a retail store is not easy to compare online. To date, no one has found a miracle formula that enables customers to enjoy.” so much online, “LVMH chief financial officer Jean Jacques Guiony told CNBC on Monday.

“The second point is also to enrich that experience with online content,” he added.

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home orders have resulted in a significant increase in online shopping, forcing many merchants to develop their online offerings much faster. This dynamic, in turn, has challenged the need for physical stores.

For LVMH, one of the largest luxury brands in the world, the online offer is only “a complement to the physical experience”.

Guiony said most of the customers who visit the store had previously checked the website and could have purchased the items they wanted there.

“They get a lot of information, but they come to the store because the store experience on the Internet is incomparable,” he told CNBC’s Charlotte Reed.

Tiffany & Co. in Vienna, Austria, in the most prestigious shopping area in downtown Vienna, also known as the Golden U, on Kohlmarktstrasse.

Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto | Getty Images

LVMH recorded a 17% drop in sales in 2020 compared to the previous year. Business was not only affected by local blocking measures, but also by international travel bans.

“I don’t know if we can talk about the roaring 20s … the analogy a century later makes me a little doubtful, but I don’t know if we can talk about it anyway. We can definitely talk about the fact that business is going well with most of the customer base, be it in Europe or in Asia, “said Guiony.” All in all, we honestly can’t complain. “

LVMH completed the acquisition of Tiffany’s, the jewelry brand, for $ 15.8 billion last year.

“The integration of Tiffany is not a six month task, it will take several quarters and the goal is not just to integrate but to develop the business to the level that we think the quality of the brand could generate.” So it is a long term job, “he added.

The LVMH share is up about 32.8% since the beginning of the year.