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China's Crackdown Dims Luxury Sales

Credit Suisse's summary of its survey results identifies "political factors" as a core reason that shoppers avoid luxury spending, not property prices or credit availability as in the past. It's referring to China's crackdown last year on gifts given by government officials, part of an effort to present a cleaner public image under new leadership headed by President Xi Jinping.

"Political factors refer to the change in leadership in China creating uncertainty and encouraging frugality when it comes to gifting, which has historically been a feature of the Chinese luxury market," said Credit Suisse research analyst Rogerio Fujimori. "So a pullback in gift giving has led to demand weakness, particularly for luxury items like high-end watches since mid-last year."

But luxury sales are expected to start glimmering again, at least dimly, the survey result summary says. "The worst is probably behind us but we do not expect a meaningful pick-up," it says, forecasting "mid-single-digit growth on average."

Some brands will probably "perform significantly better than others," the summary says. It picks Hermes, Burberry (BURBY:OTC), Prada (PRDSY:OTC), Tiffany (TIF), Coach (COH) and Chow Tai Fook to succeed.

Ralph Jennings is on LinkedIn.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage. At the time of publication he had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.
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