Gucci head says consumers more prudent-report

Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:18am EDT
 
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MILAN (Reuters) - Consumers of luxury goods are more careful in current financial market turmoil, the head of Gucci Group told La Repubblica newspaper in an interview, particularly for impulse purchases.

"It's true that something has changed in the mentality of consumers in the last year. People are now more prudent, especially when you are talking about impulse buys," Robert Polet, chief executive officer of Gucci Group, said in the interview published on Saturday.

Gucci Group is owned by France's PPR.

"It's a phenomenon that you see in the top end of the market as well," Polet said. "If a 'big spender' previously wanted to buy four handbags, now maybe they are purchasing just three, without changing brand, however," he added.

He said that strong brands always survived economic difficulties and ruled out moving production for Italian marques Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Sergio Rossi outside Italy, despite unfavorable exchange rates.

"We will never leave Italy even if in effect there is a problem with the exchange rates," he told the newspaper.

Polet added that the group considered Asia-Pacific markets the most interesting in terms of opportunities in the next few years.

(Reporting by Jo Winterbottom; Editing by Lincoln Feast)