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World Retail Congress: Discounting could 'ruin your brand forever'

Discounting and negotiating on quality could “ruin your brand forever”, former Louis Vuitton chief executive and chairman Yves Carcelle has warned.

Speaking at the World Retail Congress in Paris yesterday, Carcelle, who was chief executive and chairman of Louis Vuitton from 1989 to 2012, said a fashion brand could have a “bad collection” one season and survive, but that quality shouldn’t be negotiable.

“Without quality, you could ruin your brand forever,” he said. “And being on Sale ruins your image of luxury. The feeling of investment from the consumer is destroyed when she sees the same product discounted in an outlet store.”

When asked how he dealt with unsold products at the end of a season, Carcelle replied: “What is not sold is destroyed. We need to permanently improve sell–through.”

Carcelle also called on more innovation and creativity in the luxury sector. “Every time you turn a page in a fashion magazine, you see a girl with a bag,” he said, alluding to advertising campaigns from luxury brands. “Luxury deserves real creativity. History without innovation is boring.”

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