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USA Today reports that luxury retail is beginning to take some hits as "threats to global stability — including terrorism, the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union and China's slowdown — are rattling international shoppers of high-end goods. At the same time, luxury retailers are losing share to online sellers, an issue bedeviling mainstream chains. They're also suffering at the hands of discounters and fast-fashion luxury lookalikes."

The story goes on to say that "it's a strange turn for luxury, which looked unstoppable when the world's wealthy were riding high. Globally, the luxury market is growing. Personal luxury goods purchases have tripled in the past 20 years to more than $270 billion, according to a 2015 report from Bain & Co. North and South America combined have become the largest market for personal luxury goods purchases.

"But that growth has slowed in recent years. Last year, sales in the Americas were flat on a constant exchange rate basis, according to Bain."
KC's View:
Ironically, it was just yesterday that we took note of the Seattle Times report that Starbucks "is investing in high-end Italian bakery Princi, with plans to open Princi stores and to carry Princi foods in its Roastery showcases ... Princi, which now has four locations in Milan and one in London, offers 24-hour service, from light breakfast to dinners." And, Starbucks is planning to launch a new chain of Roastery stores that will "serve only Reserve coffees and offer customers a choice in how they want their coffee brewed, including French press and pour over. The Reserve-only stores may also serve beer and wine."

Maybe it'll be okay, but maybe Starbucks' timing isn't exactly propitious ...