Walking up a very busy Bond Street last week, on my way to have a drink in a packed Claridge's, it felt like I was once again back in the heady days of 2019; Luxury’s Great Year. If the beautiful spring weather and the joy of seeing London’s streets full of customers with smart shopping bags wasn’t buzz enough, what I’m hearing from Walpole member CEOs is also encouraging: despite continued challenges, trading is already ahead of 2019. After what’s been a very challenging two years, could the new normal be the same as the old normal?
As always, the truth is more complex than that. The consumer bounce-back may be strong, but the rules of the luxury game have rapidly evolved. If we’re setting our sights on sustained growth, if digital acceleration means the next stop is the metaverse, if collaborations need to be on steroids to get cut-through, and if we’re aware of how much we’re going to be fighting for wallet share with our colleagues in Paris or Milan once affluent international visitors return, it’s clear that the winners – those luxury brands building future legacy – will be those that embrace a radical new vision for luxury.
Help is at hand: the Walpole British Luxury Summit on 23rd May is packed with the insights and information you need to navigate the opportunities coming your way. We’ll hear from Kering’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Marie-Claire Daveu, on why she believes bio-diversity and social impact must be the strategic front and centre for any ambitious luxury brand, and she’ll share advice for how to do it in a meaningful, engaging way. Brian Duffy, Chief Executive of one of the UK’s most exciting and fastest growing luxury retailers, Watches of Switzerland, will share with us the secret of how he’s driven such extraordinary growth for the business, and why in luxury it can be a strength when demand outstrips supply.
We’ll also hear from luxury experts on strategies and opportunities for growth, we’ll talk about the power and influence of modern British creativity, take a deep dive into influential trends and innovations and launch a piece of specially commissioned research with ten new rules for modern luxury, all of which you can take back to the office and put to immediate use. What’s more, Adam Knight from Tong will be back with the inside track on that most complex yet lucrative of markets, China, and we will have new work to share from Bain into the impact and value of the high end international visitor.
We will reveal more speakers very soon – keep your eyes trained on the Digest for an exciting announcement early next week.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Summit always comes with the kind of value-add you’ve come to expect from Walpole: exceptional networking with luxury leaders from throughout the British luxury sector during the delicious breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks, and at the post-Summit drinks in the Capital’s only super-boutique hotel, The Londoner.
Early-bird member tickets are priced from £385 (+VAT and fees) and non-member early-bird from £660 (+VAT and fees), and include food, drinks and the whole programme. Keep an eye on the Digest over the coming weeks as we announce more star speakers, but with early bird tickets close to selling out, I would strongly recommend prompt booking to secure your place.
I am very much looking forward to seeing you there, and do drop me a line if you have any questions in the meantime.
Walpole Chief Executive