Luxury Labels Taking Advantage of 1990s Love

BY Courtney Huckabay
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When it comes to fashion, flashy logos have been out of vogue for a while. But a number of premium retailers say logos are back. Coach Brand President & CEO Josh Schulman told investors on the company's second-​quarter conference call that the company is seeing "a global movement in luxury brands toward a higher penetration of logo product."

The luxury label resurgence just might increase the audience of label-​loving goods! The newest AudienceSCAN survey found 4.6% of U.S. adults prefer to only buy high-​end or luxury-​brand products, so there is room for growth.

"The parent company of Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman, is reintroducing logo into its retail store and website assortment as part of the new inventory designed by Coach creative director Stuart Vevers. The collection will hit stores and the website on March 1," Courtney Reagan wrote for CNBC.

"Coach has already begun to increase the logo product available in its outlet business. Piper Jaffray analyst Erinn Murphy estimates in the most recent holiday quarter, Coach outlet stores dedicated about 20 percent of the floor space to logo product."

"The handbag maker isn't the only company bringing back logos. Murphy says she's started to see "a renaissance of logo," largely led by luxury players like LVMH, Gucci and Balenciaga, but also including what she calls premium players like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger (both owned by PVH) and Donna Karan (part of G‑III Apparel Group)."

"Millennials in particular are gravitating toward logos, after years of preferring, at least outwardly, more incognito fashion labeling. "Logos are part of a trend back to the 1990s broadly, in fashion," explains Murphy. "Brands are going back to the archives." Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis, Guess and Abercrombie & Fitch all acknowledged the logo trend on their most recent earnings calls."

The most recent AudienceSCAN study revealed 28% of Luxury Product Shoppers fall into the Y Generation, but retailers should note those aged 18 to 24 are 79% more likely than average to be Luxury Product Shoppers too.

"Polo Bear sweaters and novelty items embellished with our iconic symbols like our crest logo and downhill ski racer graphic were among our bestsellers for the [holiday] season," Ralph Lauren CEO Patrice Louvet told investors last week.

"Perry Ellis' Original Penguin "logo apparel is right in fashion with today's 1990s trend favoring logoed apparel," according to CEO Oscar Feldenkreis in December."

"In November, Guess CEO Victor Herrero said, "We are seeing a lot of logo-​driven fashion," while Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Fran Horowitz said men's apparel improvement was driven in part by logo shorts and fleece."

Luxury-​brand retailers can try promoting the new logo/​label looks through social media. The most recent AudienceSCAN study found 34% of Luxury Product Shoppers took action after seeing ads on social networks in the past month, and they are 49% more likely than average to take action after watching the ads at movie theaters.

"Murphy says that much of Coach's most significant growth era in the mid-​2000s was heavily reliant on the logo product, potentially 60 to 70 percent of floor space, and she doesn't expect that level of resurgence."

"What's more encouraging to Murphy is Tapestry's acknowledgement that the logo product in the outlet has begun to bring in a new shopper."

"Speaking of 1990s trends, Tapestry CEO Victor Luis says North American mall shoppers are back. On the earnings call following the release of Tapestry's better-​than-​expected quarterly profit and sales, Luis told investors "our retail business was driven by innovation and improved domestic mall traffic for the first time in several years."

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.