31 Dec '16, 4am

People consider the Birkin handbag to be eclusive, yet there are more than a million in circulation.

People consider the Birkin handbag to be eclusive, yet there are more than a million in circulation.

PARIS, France — For consumers and investors alike, Hermès is the quintessential luxury brand, seen as having the most exclusive and desirable goods on the market. But real exclusivity is not much of a business model — Leonardo da Vinci paintings are exclusive, but trading in his artwork offers little scope for growth or profit. And yet, among the major luxury goods companies I monitor, including LVMH and Kering , Hermès has reported the highest return on invested capital and the best operating profit after tax in 13 of the past 15 years. Sure, Hermès sells exquisitely made products, but so do many other companies. So what makes Hermès unique? The convenient explanation is capacity constraints. Hermès frustrates demand and makes it difficult for people to buy its most coveted products. But here, too, Hermès is not alone, even if it does push things to the extreme. In today’...

Full article: https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/intelligence/t...

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