After more than two years of luxury shame, downsizing and feeling guilty, wealthy consumers may be crawling out of their fox holes (or, rather, into their fox stoles).Richemont’s better-than-expected earnings are one barometer, as the maker of Cartier watches and Chloe handbags on Monday reported a 2% rise in sales last quarter and a whopping 12% revenue jump in December alone.Kepler analyst Jon Cox said the recession in the watch industry “seems to be over.”That followed Tiffany’s 17% sales increase for the last two months of 2009. Our own Dow Jones Luxury Index, a k a the “Richistan Index” has more than doubled from its low a year ago and it is down only 20% from its 2007 peak.“I think we have reached the bottom,” said Christian Barbier, sales director at top-end watchmaker Parmigiani. “The consumer is getting used to working with a more difficult environment….It is time to live again.”The luxury rebound?
By Robert Frank, Jan. 20, 2010 WSJ

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