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Louis Vuitton: The Year Ahead

Thanks to strict business policies, the house of Louis Vuitton is weathering the recession with flying colors.

Louis Vuitton's policy of no licenses, tight control of its distribution and never being on sale has been a prescription for success and, as such, the house is poised to keep outpacing the luxury sector.

It certainly weathered the recession with flying colors, logging double-digit gains in the first nine months of 2009 and winning credit for "the bulk" of gains luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton achieved in the third quarter.

Famous for its monogram canvas and celebrity-studded marketing, the firm cited strong sales of its silver-and-black Damier Graphite men's line, and good performance in Europe and Asia, particularly China. Chinese customers now account for almost 18 percent of Vuitton's business, second only to the Japanese, who rack up about 27 percent of sales.

Powered by creative director Marc Jacobs, practically a pop-culture icon himself, Vuitton has been a luxury pioneer around the globe, planting a boutique in Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, last fall, its 440th unit. The brand plans to enter two new markets in the first half — Lebanon and the Dominican Republic. Two locations in Shanghai will be unveiled just in time for the opening of the World Expo on May 1, and a major flagship on London's New Bond Street will open the same month.