Photo: Calle Serrano, Spain
Although Spain faces an enormous economic catastrophe with a 24% unemployment rate, local luxury brands continue to prosper. This surprising statistic may be due in part to a rise in tourism within the Mediterranean country.
Tourists, the majority arriving from China, Japan, and Russia, who come to visit popular destinations such as Madrid, Barcelona, and Marbella are improving the Spanish economy. Many participate in ‘shopping tours’ such as the ‘Made in Spain Luxury Tour.’ These tours take customers on a relaxed tour of some of the finest stores with personal assistants and private showings of the high end designer merchandise. Last year alone, 4.5 billion euros were spent on luxury items in these popular tourist locations.
In the summer of 2011, many of Spain’s luxury brands, such as Loewe, Lladró, Sotogrande, and many more, combined forces to create the ‘Circulo Español del Lujo Fortuny’ or the ‘Spanish Circle of Luxury and Fortune.’ This coalition, brought together to help strengthen the Spanish luxury market as well as self promote abroad, soon joined the European Cultural and Creative Industries Alliance.
Although Spain faces an increasing unemployment rate and many small shops and businesses are closing, last year, the luxury sector employed more than 800,000 people. On Madrid’s Calle Serrano, the equivalent to New York’s 5th Avenue, there is not a single clearance sale or for sale sign to be found.
Apparently, tourists still need their designer bags.