《经济学人》2020-6-20 Fashion victims笔记

本篇我们将关注疫情下西方奢侈品行业的现状,以及他们未来的求生策略。奢侈品里普通人家的生活确实很远,但是可以作为一个话题来了解讨论。新冠疫情来临之后,世界著名时装周活动纷纷推迟或者在线上举办。奢侈品行业内不同部门,随着其主营业务的不同,脆弱程度也不尽相同;不同品牌,随着它们的根基不同,受到的影响也不同最后,西方奢侈品行业的兴衰还要看中国市场的需求量。

路易威登包包镇楼


*本笔记仅供学习交流,作者观点不代表本人观点。原文有删改。



Slow times in the luxury world will separate the bling from the chaff.

bling n.奢华高档的首饰或服装

chaff n.谷壳,糠

separate the bling from the chaff 沙里淘金


第一段

Milan, Paris or New York this time of year would usually be teeming with fashionistas scrambling to get from the Balenciaga(巴黎世家) show to the Chanel(香奈儿) party. Not in 2020. Fashion weeks have been cancelled, repurposed as posh catwalk webinars. Shops selling Hermès(爱玛士) ties and Prada(普拉达) pumps are only just reopening, wondering what to do with stock of pre-covid-19 vintage. Instagram influencers normally on hand to feed the hype have nothing to snap.

teem v.倾注,倾泻

be teeming with...=be full of...充满,遍布,到处都是......

fashionista n.时尚设计师,时装达人

repurpose v.(为适合新用途)稍加改动,重新修改 re+purpose

posh a.优雅豪华的;上流生活的

webinar n.网络研讨会   来源于seminar

pump n.舞鞋;帆布鞋;高跟鞋

vintage n.(葡萄酒的)酿造年份;葡萄收获期(或季节)

hype n.(言过其实的)促销,宣传

Instagram influencer Instagram网红

snap v.拍照,摄影(本文义);断裂;啪得打开、关闭;不耐烦地说

第一段作者引入话题,指出新冠疫情对奢侈品行业的影响是巨大的,时装周被取消,奢侈品商家发愁如何卖出存货,就连社交平台的网红也不知道该拍什么照片来为商品打宣传了。

说起时装周,一般是以时装展示为中心的发布活动。世界上有四大时装周,除了文中提到的米兰、巴黎和纽约外,还有伦敦时装周。时装周活动一般每年两次,在春秋两季举行。由于受疫情的影响,米兰、巴黎和纽约都纷纷宣布将在今年七月中旬在线上举办春夏装展示活动。



第二段

The world of personal luxury goods—from handbags and haute couture to diamond rings and pricey Swiss watches—has been in hibernation. At the height of the pandemic between March and May sales slumped by 75% or so on a year earlier, according to the Boston Consulting Group. They have slowly picked up as Asia, then Europe and America, started reopening. Even so, the outlook for the luxury world is far from glittering.

haute couture n.高档女子时装

hibernation n.冬眠,蛰伏

三月至五月奢侈品销量大幅下降。虽然说很多店家重新开门营业,但是作者认为行业前景仍处于hibernation之中,距离glittering还非常遥远。


第三段

The global recession hangs over a sector fuelled by consumer confidence.(主旨句)Beyond that short-term shock, the industry is facing an overhaul in how its baubles are made, where they are sold and to whom.Trends once expected to play out over a decade may unfold in mere quarters. (难句)Rapid change has set nerves jangling in a business meant to exude timeless tradition.

hang over 笼罩着,威胁

bauble n.小玩意,小装饰

jangle v.刺激、烦扰(神经),使烦躁不安

exude v.流露,显露;(感觉或品质)显现

经济的衰退冲击着消费者的信心,而奢侈品行业正是依靠消费信心来生存的。整个行业正在面临生产模式、销售方式、销售对象的全面变革,并加速了流行风格趋势的变化。

难句分析Rapid change has set nerves jangling in a business meant to exude timeless tradition.

通过大致意思我们可以看出这是省略which/that的定语从句,从句修饰先行词business。快速的变化正在烦扰整个行业,这个行业是meant to,即要打算流露出永恒的传统,或者是永恒之道。整个意思就可理解为“快速的变化使这个打算永恒维持传统的行业困扰不已”。


第四段

Start with who is buying and where. Although most purveyors of luxury are European (with America home to some of the lesser marques), most of their customers come from Asia. Asians bought more than half of the €281bn ($315bn) in bling sold last year. Chinese buyers alone have gone from 1% of purchases in 2000 to 35% last year, according to Bain, another consultancy. But most of that—perhaps 70%—was purchased overseas, often on jaunts to Europe. Just over a tenth of all luxury sales were actually booked in mainland China.

purveyor n.供应商  purvey v.提供,供应

marque n.知名品牌(尤指汽车)

jaunt n.旅途,旅行

在产品销路方面,奢侈品的主要供应商来自欧洲,但主要销路在亚洲,尤其是中国。单单来自中国的订货占到了奢侈品市场的35%。但是,作者指出,中国购买欧洲的奢侈品,通常是在游客旅行欧洲的过程中购买,而不是在本土订货。


第五段

Unless intercontinental tourism rebounds faster than expected, new ways will have to be found to get Euro-chic into Chinese hands. Firms hope that shopping sprees will simply move from Paris to Shanghai. In the short run, this might boost margins: the likes of Louis Vuitton (part of LVMH, the biggest luxury group) and Gucci (part of Kering, another French giant) charge a third more in China than in Europe for the same products. Closing a few flagship stores in high-rent tourism hotspots such as Paris or Milan, which usually sell half their stock to tourists, could save firms money in property costs.

chic a.时髦的,优雅的,雅致的

margin n.利润

那么,针对上一段提出的销路问题,就必须找到售卖的新的方式把商品交到中国客户手中。有人提出关闭一些在欧洲的旗舰店,而在上海开一些新店。这样就会产生利润,弥补了在欧洲开店成本高销量少的问题。但注意作者用的是In the short run也就是在短期内。一班下面必有转折。



第六段

Yet any boost to margins may be short-lived. The difference between European and Chinese prices has narrowed. Those in China have been declining as apps make international price comparisons easier . And more shops on the mainland, in cities they would once have deemed déclassémay diminish the aura of exclusivity that shopping on Avenue Montaigne(蒙田大道) in Paris or New York’s Fifth Avenue confers. The de facto discounts were aimed at luring buyers to the West precisely for that reason.

déclassé (法)被降低等级的

de facto (法)实际上

本段作者随即指出指望在中国市场获得长期利润是不现实的。从卖方来说,他说奢侈品在中国市场的价格荷载西方市场的价格差距会缩小,因为人们可以通过app货比三家;从买方来说,在中国的一些城市开奢侈品店没有在巴黎蒙田大道和纽约第五大道的“光环”,没有购物的氛围。因此,很多人还是会选择去当地购买奢侈品。

巴黎蒙田大道



第七段

The pandemic has accelerated other trends. Online sales of luxury goods, at 7-8% of the total on average, are around half those of mass-market fashion retailers like H&M and Zara.(长难句) The closure of shops has, predictably, eased some of the reservations brands may have about selling their wares on the internet. LVMH has said online purchases are “significantly higher” as a share of sales than pre-pandemic. Sales through department stores—which are in terrible financial shape, notably in America—are also likely to shrink.

介绍完销路的问题,作者开始探讨其他的一些趋势,这一段说的是网上销售将占据更大比重。

长难句分析

The closure of shops has, predictably, eased some of the reservations brands may have about selling their wares on the internet.

主语the closure of shops,谓语ease,宾语reservations,可以看出这是省略that/which的定语从句,修饰先行词reservations。全句意思是商店的关闭,使商家在网上出售商品的预订更加方便。

第八段

Meanwhile, costs may rise. Though they love to show off in-house “artisans” stitching handbags and the like, even the poshest maisons quietly outsource some of their production. Many rely on outsiders for more than half their products. These suppliers are often small family firms in Italy, which went into the pandemic with slim margins and slimmer financial buffers. Luxury groups are now having to assist them financially in a hurry lest they disappear for good.

artisan n.工匠,手艺人

这一段作者说明第二个趋势,就是成本会增加,尤其是给小的外包商的经济援助会增多,以防止他们受疫情的影响而不干。

第九段

All this paints a drab financial picture.Sales are forecast to fall by a third in 2020, and recover only by 2022 at the earliest. That will crimp margins, since luxury firms’ costs are largely fixed. Rents must still be paid and brands advertised—the poshest ones spend the best part of $1bn a year on marketing—even as sales droop.

drab a.无色彩的;无生气的

at the earliest 最早

crimp v.阻碍(防止)...的发展

droop v.(因衰弱、疲劳而)下垂,垂落

过渡段,承上启下。

第十段

In many industries, squished margins and falling sales might lead to a slew of takeovers. Few expect that to happen in luxury. Most of the big players have healthy balance-sheets and are expected to find ways to return to profitability. Many smaller marques are controlled by founders or their families, who are loth to sell in a downturn. If anything, consolidation might slow; all eyes are on whether LVMH will complete its $17bn takeover of Tiffany(蒂芙尼), an American jeweller, agreed weeks before covid-19 struck.

squish v.挤压,压坏 同根词squeeze

slew n.大量,许多

a slew of 大量

takeover n.收购;接收;接管

be loth to do...不情愿做某事

在多数行业中,企业的收购、兼并是对抗利润微薄,销量下降的方法。但在奢侈品行业人们并不愿意见到这样的事情发生。大公司有好的收支表,小企业也不愿意在经济低迷时期让大公司收购。现在,所有人都在等待,看路易威登是否会完成它在疫情之前与蒂芙尼签订的收购条款。


第十一段

Not all parts of the industry are equally vulnerable. In a crisis, buyers stick to more established brands. “They want the best of the best,” says Luca Solca of Bernstein, a broker. Good news, then, for the likes of Louis Vuitton and Chanel, which have in fact pushed up prices in recent months. (长难句)In contrast, brands hoping for a turnaround in their fortunes—Burberry is a perennial candidate—are less able to gain the attention a relaunch might otherwise garner.

perennial a. 长久的;持续的;反复出现的

perennial candidate 常年的候选人,对一再失败的候选人的谑称

garner v.获得,取得

在行业内,并不是每个部分都同样脆弱。像路易威登和香奈尔这样的老牌企业,人们非常信任,这些企业也借此提高价格。相反,像巴宝莉这些希望有所转机的企业,反而不能获得人们的关注。

长难句分析

In contrast, brands hoping for a turnaround in their fortunes are less able to gain the attention a relaunch might otherwise garner.

还是省略attention后的that/which,引导定语从句。巴宝莉这样的希望命运转机的公司不会获得关注,这种关注是因重启而获得的。也就是说,即使巴宝莉选择重启,也很难获得人们的关注。

第十二段

Some segments have also been hit harder than others. Perfumes and cosmetics have held up best: a lockdown is no reason to forgo a skincare regime, apparently. Fashion houses face bigger problems, as cooped-up fashionistas see less need to replenish their wardrobes. Worse, unlike jewellery or handbags, surplus stock of apparel is rapidly going out of style. Overt discounts are frowned upon in luxury for fear of cheapening precious brands. Most at risk are fancy watchmakers like Richemont(历峰集团), which attract sellers at fairs and trade shows that have now been cancelled.

forgo v.放弃

Fashion houses 时装店

cooped-up 被禁锢的

replenish v.重新补充  词根plen-   plenty

fairs n.定期集市

作者对奢侈品内四个部门做了不同层级的分析。香水和化妆品影响最小;时装店次之,因为时装达人们不需要为自己的衣柜添置衣物;珠宝店和包包店情况就不太好了,因为它们极容易过气;像Richemont钟表商,依靠定期集市和贸易展览吸引顾客的,压根就没有机会去举办,所以情况最糟。


第十三段

The question is whether amid this shake-up the luxury world can keep its grip on the wallets of the world’s big spenders. Fears that consumers would opt for a more ascetic post-pandemic future are dissipating: reports of “revenge shopping” as China emerged from lockdown implies that rich folks’ appetite for status symbols remains intact. But these worries are being replaced by those over Chinese shoppers developing a taste for nascent local brands, at the expense of the old-world stalwarts.

stalwart n.忠实拥护者

能否稳住中国市场,是奢侈品商能否在疫情中稳住的巨大问题。他们担心的不是富人的口味是不是会发生变化,而是更加担心中国本土新兴的品牌对它们构成的巨大威胁。

第十四段

The biggest potential changes may concern the designers themselves. By late June the most exalted would normally start displaying autumn and winter collections in shop windows. This year they will make up for lost time by selling their summer season through the summer, as might seem sensible anyway. Giorgio Armani, an Italian veteran, has argued this should become the new norm. What a bold fashion statement that would be.

exalted a.地位高的,显赫的

这一段开始分析自身因素。每当6月下旬,地位高的奢侈品商通常会在商店橱窗中开始展示秋冬系列。今年,他们将通过在整个夏季出售夏装来弥补失去的时间,这似乎是明智的。资深人士认为这应成为新的规范。这将是多么大胆的时尚宣言。



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