Kering CEO rejects immediate availability off the runway

Gucci customers will have to keep waiting for their catwalk fashions as the Italian brand resists following Burberry in making them available fresh off the runway.

Burberry’s plan to consolidate its shows and make collections available for purchase immediately afterwards is a notion that “negates the dream” of luxury, said Francois-Henri Pinault, chief executive officer of Gucci-owner Kering SA. Making consumers wait as long as six months to buy a collection “creates desire,” Pinault said Friday after reporting better-than-expected quarterly sales growth.

Pinault’s view is at variance with that of former Gucci designer Tom Ford, who this month called the traditional see-now, buy-later model “an antiquated idea that no longer makes sense.” Both Ford and Burberry plan to show their men’s and women’s collections at the same time from September and distribute the clothing and accessories immediately afterwards.

“There are some brands for which a runway show is a communications event,” Pinault said Friday. “Burberry has doubtless decided what suits it best. What we will decide will be what suits our brands and our vision of luxury.”

Pinault also said he doesn’t expect Burberry’s decision to shake up the fashion calendar as consolidating shows would present a challenge for luxury brands with different designers for men’s and women’s collections.

The difference of opinion speaks to the fortunes of the respective luxury-goods makers. Gucci reported its strongest revenue growth in three years and is expected by analysts to strengthen this year as more of new creative director Alessandro Michele’s collections hit stores. Burberry, by contrast, is struggling to grow amid slowing luxury demand.

adapted from Bloomberg

Francois Henri Pinault, Kering