July 8, 2009

News flash: Less is more, again

Looks like minimalism is back – both as æsthetic and business strategy.

This summer, Camilla Stærk's sudden, unannounced closing of her Soho boutique set off alarms, but it turns out she was conserving her resources to regroup for the recession in a clever way: by creating Stærk Signature, a tiny line consisting of the 8 essential pieces that her customers demand from season to season.

Like designer, like retailer: stores, too, have begun paring down their inventory, as WWD reported yesterday. The still-suffering (and possibly for sale to Uniqlo?) Gap learned years ago that too much merchandise can mean smaller profits, as customers learn to wait for sales instead of buying at full price; a lesson missed by many retailers who have been offering deep discounts since before Christmas. Louis Vuitton, on the other hand, was recently rated the most valuable luxury brand in the world – thanks largely to its tight control of distribution and its strict no-markdowns policy.
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