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Pandemic spurs shift to

High-end retailers have redoubled their efforts online and in China as virus accelerates trends
Pandemic spurs shift to
  • Several luxury retailers have posted earnings in recent weeks
  • Fashion houses have invested in multi-brand platforms as they target online customers

In early March last year, Louis Vuitton closed Paris Fashion Week with a dramatic show at the Louvre museum. Flanked by photographers and members of the sartorial press, models sashayed down the catwalk to the dulcet tones of 200 backing singers. Each chorister was clad in historical costumes from different centuries. “I wanted to imagine what could happen if the past could look at us,” creative director Nicolas Ghesquière explained.

Yet few then could imagine the scale of the crisis that would develop in the ensuing months. At the time of Louis Vuitton’s event, roughly 91,000 cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed worldwide. Since then, a further 100m people have been infected, translating into almost 2.5m deaths. In turn, the coronavirus outbreak has devastated swathes of the global economy, shutting stores and grounding flights via repeated rounds of lockdown restrictions.

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