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Drapers Fashion Summit: Luxury sector feels slowdown

The luxury sector has begun to feel the impact of the recession with October sales at their worst for years, according to Robert Bensoussan, founder of the Sirius Equity investment fund and chairman of LK Bennett.

Speaking at the Drapers Fashion Summit, Bensoussan said that while wealthy luxury shoppers were continuing to buy, the group of shoppers that fall into the "aspirational" category had stopped spending with luxury and premium retailers. He said: "These people are not buying luxury goods any more and in October we have not seen them."

"There is a fear and lack of confidence and when people don't trust and are afraid of what might happen to their savings, this is a problem and the prospects are bad."

Bensoussan added: "I don't think that the trading situation will improve over the next month. We will have to wait and see how Christmas will be but I will not be holding my breath."

However, Bensoussan said he was still looking to invest and that there were opportunities in the market because valuations had fallen considerably.

He added that there were some international markets which still showed promise for brands looking to expand.

He said: "In the US there are like-for-like sales falls of 30% across many companies. There are difficulties in continental Europe but there is still opportunity in Asia, the Middle East and Eastern European markets."

For more from the Drapers Fashion Summit visit the homepage for the event with news from the event as it happens and for in depth coverage read this week's magazine.

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