LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA gained after the world’s largest luxury-goods company reported its fastest fashion and leather-goods sales growth in two years, cushioning an unexpected decline in alcohol sales.
The stock rose as much as 4.3 percent in Paris trading, the steepest intraday gain in three months. First-quarter sales of clothing and leather items such as Louis Vuitton bags climbed 9 percent on an organic basis, LVMH said yesterday in a statement after European markets closed. Analysts predicted a 6 percent sales gain.
“The clear highlight in the first quarter was the much better-than-expected performance in fashion and leather,” Eva Quiroga, an analyst at UBS, wrote in a note to investors. She has a buy recommendation on the stock.
LVMH is introducing more expensive products at handbag maker Louis Vuitton, while increasing investment at some of its smaller fashion brands amid competition from lower-priced labels such as Michael Kors and Coach Inc. Italian rival Prada SpA (1913) last week forecast slowing same-store sales growth in the financial year through January 2015, citing a strong euro and weakening demand in China.
LVMH doesn’t report earnings at the end of the first quarter. The shares traded 3.9 percent higher at 141.75 euros as of 10:03 a.m. in Paris, where LVMH is based, giving the maker of Celine sandals and Belvedere vodka a market value of about 72 billion euros ($100 billion). The shares have advanced 6.8 percent this year.
The cognac business is struggling due to a clampdown by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government on lavish spending on banqueting and gifts. Sales of wines and spirits fell 3 percent on an organic basis. Analysts predicted growth of 3 percent. It was the unit’s first decline since the fourth quarter of 2009, according to Mario Ortelli, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in London.
The worse-than-expected alcohol sales were mainly driven by overstocking by Chinese retailers in the fourth quarter, Ortelli wrote in a note to investors. Fashion and leather-goods sales were “stellar,” as Loro Piana, the cashmere clothier LVMH acquired last year, contributed “significantly,” said the analyst, who has an outperform recommendation on the stock.
Total revenue advanced 4 percent to 7.21 billion euros, LVMH said. Analysts predicted 7.4 billion euros, according to the median of 17 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Pernod Ricard SA, which makes Martell cognac, said Feb. 13 that first-half sales to China fell 18 percent on an organic basis as the government continued to restrict spending. Remy Cointreau SA, the maker of Remy Martin, said in January it anticipated no relief for sales of cognac from Chinese New Year, which fell at the end of that month and is a key festival for consumption and gifts of the spirit. Enlarge The Image

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA gained after the world’s largest luxury-goods company reported its fastest fashion and leather-goods sales growth in two years, cushioning an unexpected decline in alcohol sales.

The stock rose as much as 4.3 percent in Paris trading, the steepest intraday gain in three months. First-quarter sales of clothing and leather items such as Louis Vuitton bags climbed 9 percent on an organic basis, LVMH said yesterday in a statement after European markets closed. Analysts predicted a 6 percent sales gain.

“The clear highlight in the first quarter was the much better-than-expected performance in fashion and leather,” Eva Quiroga, an analyst at UBS, wrote in a note to investors. She has a buy recommendation on the stock.

LVMH is introducing more expensive products at handbag maker Louis Vuitton, while increasing investment at some of its smaller fashion brands amid competition from lower-priced labels such as Michael Kors and Coach Inc. Italian rival Prada SpA (1913) last week forecast slowing same-store sales growth in the financial year through January 2015, citing a strong euro and weakening demand in China.

LVMH doesn’t report earnings at the end of the first quarter. The shares traded 3.9 percent higher at 141.75 euros as of 10:03 a.m. in Paris, where LVMH is based, giving the maker of Celine sandals and Belvedere vodka a market value of about 72 billion euros ($100 billion). The shares have advanced 6.8 percent this year.

The cognac business is struggling due to a clampdown by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government on lavish spending on banqueting and gifts. Sales of wines and spirits fell 3 percent on an organic basis. Analysts predicted growth of 3 percent. It was the unit’s first decline since the fourth quarter of 2009, according to Mario Ortelli, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in London.

The worse-than-expected alcohol sales were mainly driven by overstocking by Chinese retailers in the fourth quarter, Ortelli wrote in a note to investors. Fashion and leather-goods sales were “stellar,” as Loro Piana, the cashmere clothier LVMH acquired last year, contributed “significantly,” said the analyst, who has an outperform recommendation on the stock.

Total revenue advanced 4 percent to 7.21 billion euros, LVMH said. Analysts predicted 7.4 billion euros, according to the median of 17 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Pernod Ricard SA, which makes Martell cognac, said Feb. 13 that first-half sales to China fell 18 percent on an organic basis as the government continued to restrict spending. Remy Cointreau SA, the maker of Remy Martin, said in January it anticipated no relief for sales of cognac from Chinese New Year, which fell at the end of that month and is a key festival for consumption and gifts of the spirit.


Apple is “closer than it’s ever been” to entering into a new product category, company CEO Tim Cook tells The Wall Street Journal. Apple has been regularly promising to enter into a new product category for some time now, with Cook perennially reiterating that it would happen this year. Now, in a conversation with the Journal, he continues to lay out familiar reasons for the time-consuming development process — “you want to take the time to get it right” — and says that what’s coming is going to be “really great.”
"To do things really well, it takes time," Cook tells the Journal. “You can see a lot of products that have been brought to market where the thinking isn’t really deep and, as a consequence, these things don’t do very well.” While Cook gives no hints of what that product might be, the latest reports suggest that Apple is preparing to release a health-focused smartwatch, which may be able to perform such functions as measuring a wearers’ heart rate and blood pressure.
Of course, Cook’s latest comments give no more specific of a timeline than usual. And more than ever, his comments appear as little more than a refrain targeted directly at investors hungry to see new revenue streams. Cook usually finds a way to mention the potential for new products while discussing Apple’s quarterly earnings with investors, but recently, he’s even been laying out just as much in press releases that accompany the earnings, with quotes like this from yesterday: “We’re eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market.”
The Journal also questioned Cook on mobile payments — another area that Apple could potentially be considering as a new product category. In the past, Cook has said that mobile payments intrigued Apple and that there was further potential there for the Touch ID fingerprint scanner that’s built into the iPhone 5S. He elaborates on that here, saying that mobile payments are “an area where nobody has figured it out yet. I realize that there are some companies playing in it, but you still have a wallet in your back pocket and I do too which probably means it hasn’t been figured out just yet.”
Reports have also said that Apple is at work on an enhanced set-top box, something more capable than its current Apple TV. If the new device were able to integrate with live TV, it’s possible that Cook could see this as a new product category for Apple too. However, a set-top box — like any rumored Apple TV set — still appears to be a long way out due to perennially difficult dealings with cable providers. There’s no word on at what point this year the new product might turn up, but we do know that Apple will begin showing the future of its desktop and mobile operating systems in June. Enlarge The Image

Apple is “closer than it’s ever been” to entering into a new product category, company CEO Tim Cook tells The Wall Street Journal. Apple has been regularly promising to enter into a new product category for some time now, with Cook perennially reiterating that it would happen this year. Now, in a conversation with the Journal, he continues to lay out familiar reasons for the time-consuming development process — “you want to take the time to get it right” — and says that what’s coming is going to be “really great.”

"To do things really well, it takes time," Cook tells the Journal. “You can see a lot of products that have been brought to market where the thinking isn’t really deep and, as a consequence, these things don’t do very well.” While Cook gives no hints of what that product might be, the latest reports suggest that Apple is preparing to release a health-focused smartwatch, which may be able to perform such functions as measuring a wearers’ heart rate and blood pressure.

Of course, Cook’s latest comments give no more specific of a timeline than usual. And more than ever, his comments appear as little more than a refrain targeted directly at investors hungry to see new revenue streams. Cook usually finds a way to mention the potential for new products while discussing Apple’s quarterly earnings with investors, but recently, he’s even been laying out just as much in press releases that accompany the earnings, with quotes like this from yesterday: “We’re eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market.”

The Journal also questioned Cook on mobile payments — another area that Apple could potentially be considering as a new product category. In the past, Cook has said that mobile payments intrigued Apple and that there was further potential there for the Touch ID fingerprint scanner that’s built into the iPhone 5S. He elaborates on that here, saying that mobile payments are “an area where nobody has figured it out yet. I realize that there are some companies playing in it, but you still have a wallet in your back pocket and I do too which probably means it hasn’t been figured out just yet.”

Reports have also said that Apple is at work on an enhanced set-top box, something more capable than its current Apple TV. If the new device were able to integrate with live TV, it’s possible that Cook could see this as a new product category for Apple too. However, a set-top box — like any rumored Apple TV set — still appears to be a long way out due to perennially difficult dealings with cable providers. There’s no word on at what point this year the new product might turn up, but we do know that Apple will begin showing the future of its desktop and mobile operating systems in June.


Leica is best known for being a traditionalist camera company. It took years for it to release a digital version of its revered M rangefinder, and it’s one of the few camera companies left that still produces film cameras, the designs of which have gone largely unchanged for 60 years. But today Leica is launching a new line of cameras that are exceptionally modern, from their design to their technology. The Leica T is the company’s first line of mirrorless, non-rangefinder cameras, with a completely new industrial design and an all-new lens mount.

Leica partnered with Audi’s design team to come up with the T’s stark, modern look. (This isn’t the first time the German companies have joined forces: Audi was responsible for 2013’s Leica C point and shoot and the stunning, limited-edition titanium M9 from 2010.) It’s the first interchangeable lens camera to have a true unibody aluminum frame, which Leica machines out of a single block of metal. It’s not unlike Apple’s manufacturing process for the MacBook, though the Leica T is being manufactured in a brand-new factory in Wetzlar, Germany built specifically for it. (And in true, hand-built Leica fashion, each T chassis is subjected to 45 minutes of polishing by a skilled Leica employee before the electronics are added to it. By hand, of course.)

The T features a unique lug attachment system for straps and other accessories, and it has a pop-up flash that seamlessly hides into the camera’s chassis. It’s all very modern and offers more than a passing resemblance to the one-off Leica M auctioned off late last year that was designed by Apple’s Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson. The T is very solid and the cold touch of the aluminum feels great in your hand, though it’s a much different experience than one gets from a traditional Leica rangefinder.

Aside from its clean lines and all-metal construction, the other thing that separates the T from the rest of Leica’s lineup is its lack of buttons and physical controls. There are two thumb dials, a shutter key surrounded by a power toggle, and a movie-recording key on the top of the camera. Everything else is handled by the T’s 3.7-inch 854 x 480-pixel touchscreen panel. The only viewfinder option is an external EVF, and unlike Leica’s rangefinders, the T has autofocus and comes with built-in Wi-Fi, which pairs to Leica’s new iOS app for remote control and image transfers.

Inside, the T has a 16-megapixel, APS-C size CMOS image sensor built by Sony and 16GB of internal storage to go along with its SD card support. It lacks an anti-aliasing filter and can shoot at ISOs up to 12,800. For video, the T records 1080p video at 30 frames per second and records stereo sound. Leica says the rechargeable battery is good for about 400 pictures between charges, which compares favorably to other mirrorless cameras.

The new lens mount is a Leica-specific design and supports two lenses at launch: an 18-56mm (28-85mm in 35mm equivalent) f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar zoom and a 23mm (35mm in 35mm equivalent) f/2 Summicron prime lens. Leica says that a 17-35mm equivalent wide-angle zoom and 80-200mm equivalent telephoto zoom are on the roadmap for the T. Though the T itself is made in Germany, its lenses are made in Japan to, quote, “Leica specifications.” In the few minutes I spent with the new T system, there was a noticeable difference in feel and quality between the T body and the mismatched lenses that pair with it, but they are made of metal and have a level of heft lesser lenses lack. Leica is also making an M-mount adapter for the T, so virtually any Leica rangefinder lens from the last 60 years can be used with it. (Recent lenses that have Leica’s six-bit coding system will pass exposure information to the T, but all M lenses remain manual focus and manual exposure when mounted to the new camera.)

Leica’s decision to forgo lots of physical buttons and switches and condense the T’s controls into its touchscreen is a bit surprising, but the system seems to be thoughtfully designed and functioned well in the brief time I spent with it. The interface offers big, smartphone-like icons for switching settings, and it makes use of swipe gestures and pinch-zooming when viewing photos. The T’s system will never really replace the tactile feel you get from manual controls and switches, but Leica is confident that even longtime rangefinder shooters will adapt to it quickly.

The Leica T will be available worldwide in silver on May 26th for about $1,850. (A black model is planned for launch later this year.) Its lenses are expected to sell for $1,800 (zoom) and $1,900 (prime), as well. Those prices aren’t nearly as high as the company’s M line retails for (the M currently sells for almost $7,000 just for the body), but there’s no mistaking that the T is not a run-of-the-mill camera for casual snap-shooters. Despite the price, Leica is expecting a lot of demand for the T (hence the new factory), and it will support the new system with a host of accessories, ranging from leather holster cases to colorful wrist straps and snap-on covers.

Leica doesn’t launch new cameras often — the last time it refreshed its flagship M was in 2012— so an entire new line is a pretty big deal for the company. The T represents the next Leica, the Leica that will have to continue building cameras and a expanding its loyal fan base for the next hundred years. While it’s a markedly different camera than what Leica is traditionally known for, the T still holds on to the company’s values of build quality, image quality, and of course, exclusivity. It’s just slightly less exclusive than before.


You often hear about decisions being made in the seat of power. In reality, it’s more like seats.
“Corridors of Power,” a series of photographs by Swiss photographer Luca Zanier, is a striking look at important places entirely devoid of the important people who usually inhabit them. The tour takes us through board rooms, assembly halls, parliaments, and more than one room in the United Nations. These are the cavernous spaces where history is shaped.
The series began several years ago when Zanier visited the French Communist Party headquarters, in Paris, designed by modernist master Oscar Niemeyer. The room Zanier chose to shoot, with its strangely textured mauve walls, makes it feel a little bit like you’re a cellular-sized version of yourself trapped inside a human organ. The UN Security Council room in New York is as colorful as a pack of Starburst, while the FIFA executive boardroom, in Zurich, is pretty much exactly the War Room from Dr. Strangelove, for whatever that’s worth.
Each interior has its own unique character, but there’s clearly a shared language among them. It’s hard not to notice the startling symmetry, the simple geometries rendered at imposing scale.
Though some of these spaces are open to the public, Zanier couldn’t exactly show up and snap pictures. He typically requires a full day to complete a shoot. “I need to change light, arrange seats and climb to the most impossible angles,” he says.
Unsurprisingly, to photograph corridors of power you need to first penetrate labyrinths of bureaucracy. On one occasion, Zanier received permission to shoot a space only to show up and be turned away. At another venue, he was rebuffed repeatedly over the course of four years. On a whim, he tried emailing someone else at the office, and was welcomed straight away.
Of course, not every important setting looks the part. Zanier visited the World Trade Organization, in Switzerland, in hopes of adding it to the series. When he got there he took a look around, found the space thoroughly average, and left without unpacking his camera bag.
Prints of Zanier’s photographs can be found at the Anzenberger Gallery site. His most recent publication,Power Book, collects equally compelling photographs of power plants and other energy systems. Enlarge The Image

You often hear about decisions being made in the seat of power. In reality, it’s more like seats.

Corridors of Power,” a series of photographs by Swiss photographer Luca Zanier, is a striking look at important places entirely devoid of the important people who usually inhabit them. The tour takes us through board rooms, assembly halls, parliaments, and more than one room in the United Nations. These are the cavernous spaces where history is shaped.

The series began several years ago when Zanier visited the French Communist Party headquarters, in Paris, designed by modernist master Oscar Niemeyer. The room Zanier chose to shoot, with its strangely textured mauve walls, makes it feel a little bit like you’re a cellular-sized version of yourself trapped inside a human organ. The UN Security Council room in New York is as colorful as a pack of Starburst, while the FIFA executive boardroom, in Zurich, is pretty much exactly the War Room from Dr. Strangelove, for whatever that’s worth.

Each interior has its own unique character, but there’s clearly a shared language among them. It’s hard not to notice the startling symmetry, the simple geometries rendered at imposing scale.

Though some of these spaces are open to the public, Zanier couldn’t exactly show up and snap pictures. He typically requires a full day to complete a shoot. “I need to change light, arrange seats and climb to the most impossible angles,” he says.

Unsurprisingly, to photograph corridors of power you need to first penetrate labyrinths of bureaucracy. On one occasion, Zanier received permission to shoot a space only to show up and be turned away. At another venue, he was rebuffed repeatedly over the course of four years. On a whim, he tried emailing someone else at the office, and was welcomed straight away.

Of course, not every important setting looks the part. Zanier visited the World Trade Organization, in Switzerland, in hopes of adding it to the series. When he got there he took a look around, found the space thoroughly average, and left without unpacking his camera bag.

Prints of Zanier’s photographs can be found at the Anzenberger Gallery site. His most recent publication,Power Book, collects equally compelling photographs of power plants and other energy systems.


An ambitious concept for a Middle East-based media headquarters would automatically erect a giant sunshade when necessary. Developed by REX, an award-winning New York-based architecture firm, the concept would house “two sister Middle Eastern media companies” in a pair of towers.
REX’s brief for the towers was simple: propose two elegant structures that make reference to traditional Arabic architecture. At first glance, the dual towers certainly look attractive, but are fairly conventional in their exterior design. Each would house studios in their basements, a large common space over the first few storys, and news, broadcast, and general office facilities above. However, REX’s proposal fits enormous retractable sunshades within the structures which overlap to create a 700-foot tall and wide curtain, shielding workers from direct sunlight.
These shades resemble giant parasols, 12-sided umbrellas with concave edges and a light curve to their spines. The system has been designed to reference traditional Arabic architecture on a grand scale; when interlocked, the shading structure looks like a giant example of Mashrabiya panelling, a type of intricate latticework commonly found adorning windows.
The shades would be installed on both the eastern and western facades of the towers, but only one side of the buildings would be shaded at any given time. At the correct point in the day, determined by the sun’s position, a 60-second transformation would see one side’s shades retract while the others open.

On the towers’ eastern facade, LEDs would be integrated into sunshades, which would be centrally controlled to form a giant “television screen” across both buildings. This screen would broadcast the companies’ content to the entire city.
The client for REX’s bold plans remains confidential, as does the buildings’ potential location and cost. The architecture firm was invited by the unknown corporations to create the new headquarters as part of a competition open to numerous firms. Enlarge The Image

An ambitious concept for a Middle East-based media headquarters would automatically erect a giant sunshade when necessary. Developed by REX, an award-winning New York-based architecture firm, the concept would house “two sister Middle Eastern media companies” in a pair of towers.

REX’s brief for the towers was simple: propose two elegant structures that make reference to traditional Arabic architecture. At first glance, the dual towers certainly look attractive, but are fairly conventional in their exterior design. Each would house studios in their basements, a large common space over the first few storys, and news, broadcast, and general office facilities above. However, REX’s proposal fits enormous retractable sunshades within the structures which overlap to create a 700-foot tall and wide curtain, shielding workers from direct sunlight.

These shades resemble giant parasols, 12-sided umbrellas with concave edges and a light curve to their spines. The system has been designed to reference traditional Arabic architecture on a grand scale; when interlocked, the shading structure looks like a giant example of Mashrabiya panelling, a type of intricate latticework commonly found adorning windows.

The shades would be installed on both the eastern and western facades of the towers, but only one side of the buildings would be shaded at any given time. At the correct point in the day, determined by the sun’s position, a 60-second transformation would see one side’s shades retract while the others open.

Rexmhq_674

On the towers’ eastern facade, LEDs would be integrated into sunshades, which would be centrally controlled to form a giant “television screen” across both buildings. This screen would broadcast the companies’ content to the entire city.

The client for REX’s bold plans remains confidential, as does the buildings’ potential location and cost. The architecture firm was invited by the unknown corporations to create the new headquarters as part of a competition open to numerous firms.


Desire, like the atom, is explosive with creative force.

— Paul Vernon Buser