Luxury goods market set to rebound

Luxury goods producers are slowly recovering from the global financial crisis, with four percent growth expected for 2010, according to analysis published in Munich on Friday.

Luxury goods market set to rebound
Models at the Millionaire Fair. Photo: DPA

After the market shrivelled by some 8 percent in 2009, this year sales of expensive jewellery, champagne and other fancy goods from Germany and elsewhere are expected to increase by 4 percent to €158 billion, the study by consulting firm Bain & Company said.

“After three painful quarters the customers are slowly starting to shop again,” said company branch expert Rudolf Pritzl.

Most of the growth will come from shoppers in Asia who buy particularly pricey accessories, shoes and leather goods, the company found.

The Chinese market is among the fastest to expand, with a growth rate of 15 percent expected this year.

Returning consumer trust in the market is also fuelling the growth trend, the study said.

“The temporary phenomenon of ‘luxury shame’ is fading away in the mature markets,” Pritzl said. “The attractiveness of luxury brands is returning simultaneously.“

Many of the bigger luxury brands such as Mercedes, BMW, and Porsche were better prepared to navigate the recession, the study found. While only two percent of the 220 companies included grew by more than five percent in 2009 – these made up 10 percent of the total market.

“While the big luxury brands will be able to expand their share of the market, 2010 will rather be a year many companies will be forced to secure their liquidity through mergers and takeovers,” Pritzl said.

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Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.