How three luxury retailers are approaching the holidays

Retail Brew caught up with luxury brands, from Bucherer to Margaret O’Leary, on their plans for the rest of the season.
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· 4 min read

If you’re anywhere in North America, you’re definitely surrounded by the holiday spirit. From restaurants to retailers, everyone seems to be celebrating and lighting up their spaces.

Another big marker of the holiday season is of course shopping and sales. While consumers are attempting to make the most of these shopping events, how are luxury retailers responding? Well, we weren’t sure, so we just decided to ask some of them.

For instance, loyal shoppers at Bucherer, the Switzerland-based multibrand high-end watch and jewelry company, know there is a “Bucherer Holiday Express” global campaign highlighting some of the retailer’s top brands, including Tudor, Cartier, and Rolex. Alongside the mega campaign, Bucherer is also hosting celebratory events featuring customized cocktails, desserts, and gifting for its long-term clients, Carina Ertl, CMO and chief digital officer at Tourneau Bucherer USA, told Retail Brew.

“We further focus on our certified pre-owned (CPO) concierge program to remind our clients that our team of experts can help them find the perfect holiday timepiece for gifting,” she told Retail Brew via email.

And Bucherer is not alone in its grand plans. Margaret O’Leary, CEO and designer of her eponymous San Francisco-based line of luxury knitwear and women’s apparel, has crafted a special collection for the holidays focused on offering an inclusive range of pieces for the entire family.

“The baby can have a cashmere wrap, Grandma gets a cashmere blanket, while Mom can enjoy the best sweaters,” O’Leary told Retail Brew via email. “We make it easy because everybody can wear a scarf, gloves, hat, and other accessories without worrying about size.”

Pinching pennies: But while the halls of retailers may be all decked out in holiday glory, consumers are feeling the pinch of inflation and rising costs and being more cautious with their spending. This also means retailers are, by extension, feeling the impact.

“My customers have really been consistent, but how she shops and how often is more conservative now than previous years,” Tamara Charese, founder of Je Mérite, a sustainable luxury loungewear brand, told Retail Brew via email. “My customers absolutely fill their carts and wait for sales to hit purchase. They are still shopping, but smarter and discounted. I am receiving a lot of questions asking what I suggest they should purchase for their capsule because they can’t purchase all the pieces they want at this moment. This is definitely new.”

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She added that customers are now purchasing two to three pieces compared to the five to six they did previously.

Ertl too said customers are more vigilant with their spending, but it doesn’t mean they’re not spending at all; they’re just prioritizing quality, product variety, and value.

She said Bucherer’s pre-owned programs, which have been active for the past 50 years, have been helpful to such clients, allowing them more flexibility and reassurance when they are shopping this season as it comes with a two-year warranty.

A silver lining: Meanwhile, O’Leary’s customers have been somewhat less cautious due to the retailer’s slightly more accessible price point for a luxury brand.

“I suppose we could offer our premium cashmere, cotton, and silk designs at a higher price point, but we never have,” O’Leary said. “As a result, we have not seen our customer pull back in the face of temporary market uncertainties.”

Charese said that in the case of Je Mérite, which calls itself a “slow fashion brand,” its customers see its products as an investment and that has helped sustain interest. She added that she keeps in touch with consumers through emails, social media posts, and the brand’s blogs, which has helped keep shoppers “informed and entertained.”

And as it charges into the rest of the holiday season, Charese has a tried-and-tested strategy in place: “Keep talking, keep targeting, keep engaging—paid ads…and organic,” she said.

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.