Sales of Rimowa's grooved aluminum suitcases are growing by an estimated 30 percent a year. But brand extensions beyond luggage could turn out to be a case study in dreams that go undelivered.
“What I’d like for us to be in five years is obviously a culturally relevant brand in the space of travel, hopefully not only selling suitcases but other travel-related products and really own this journey for the customer,” Rimowa Chief Executive Officer Alexandre Arnault, one of LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault’s five children, said on Wednesday at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Lisbon.
While Rimowa’s luggage is with customers for the “non-enjoyable” part of a trip, between home, airports and hotel, “in the actual enjoyable part of the travel, the brand isn’t linked to you,” Arnault said.
Arnault said Rimowa, which was founded in 1898 and LVMH agreed to take over in 2016, is going to try to “make more links” to traveling customers by offering different types of products and services, while continuing to provide products for the “dreadful part of travel.”
With more than 4,000 stores worldwide, LVMH has been boosted by a rising Chinese middle class that is traveling more than ever. It’s also gaining from a push into e-commerce and new products to entice young consumers — like luxury sneakers and iPhone cases styled like Louis Vuitton trunks.
“I don’t believe that the luxury good is disappearing from our life just due to the fact of millennials rising,” said Arnault, at 25 a member of that generation himself. “In order to capture millennials’ attention, we need to work on intensity and better quality constantly. If we’re able to manage this — and it’s our constant quest — I’m certain that they will follow us in millions.’’
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Photo Credit: Rimowa CEO Alexandre Arnault spoke Wednesday, April 18, at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Lisbon. He wants to luggage maker to create brand extensions. Ik Aldama / Conde Nast
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