As passion for the Brazilian lifestyle leaps across borders, luxury brands have found a greater incentive to invest in the Brazilian economy. As a result, the South American nation has seen explosive growth with the arrival of international brands like Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, Tom Ford, Stella McCartney, Ermenegildo Zegna, Pucci and other premium luxury names within the last two years alone.
While many other countries faced slowing sales during the global recession, Brazil remained more or less stable and growing. “Brazil knew how to stay strong during the first quakes of the crisis and, besides that, it counts new niches in the market, like bio fuel,” explains James Zhan, director of the Investments and Enterprises Division of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). As part of the UN organization that analyzes foreign commerce and development, UNCTAD has offered research indicating that Brazil will maintain this position in foreign interest through 2011, placing it as the fourth most attractive country for international investment behind only China, the US and India.
A quick look on the sidewalks and mega malls of Brazil’s big cities instantly reveals the explosion of new boutiques. At Cidade Jardim mall in São Paulo, for instance, a recently opened Hermès boutique has already earned legendary tales of consumption as customers reportedly purchase up to four or five bags at a time. “For a very long time we were planning to open a store in Brazil and we are very happy to bring it in this moment that we see the expansion of the luxury market in the country,” says Christian Blanckaert, senior executive vice president of Hermès International Affairs.
Similarly showing its hand in what appears to be a long-term strategy last July, LVMH bought 70% of Brazilian cosmetic website Sack’s. With that move, it’s expected that Brazil’s first Sephora stores will open within the next 15 months. Brazilia, with its Shopping Iguatemi, is set to be among the first location for said boutique, besides Rio and São Paulo.
Burberry also opened its first store in Latin America last spring at Shopping Iguatemi in Brazilia’s Lago Norte area. Louis Vuitton, meanwhile, opened another store at the very high end mall, which offers an entire floor of other top international brands, including Missoni, Hugo Boss, Ermenegildo Zegna and Ralph Lauren. The Zegna store itself offers about 230-square-meters, including a VIP room for personalized appointments, mainly for the large concentration of politicians who populate the region. The mall’s décor and architecture evokes the best luxury boulevard in the world.
Multi-brand store 284, meanwhile, has been selling selected pieces from Top Shop, including the special items designed by fashion designers. The company has superb locations at Daslu and Cidade Jardim, and plans to hit all of Brazil’s main capitals while maintaining partnerships with other luxury multi-brand stores. In other words, we can expect to see many more hangers for international brands in Brazil—both at local boutiques and international brand outposts.