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A Sea Change in Luxe: Tough Market Favors Buyers Over Sellers

When sales of luxury products were riding high, it seemed just about any designer was ripe for acquisition. But now it's a buyers' market.

So what of the potential cast-off brands, which luxury groups made conquests of, like so many notches on a bedpost? Maybe there’s a buyer waiting in the wings for some. One thing is certain: Those doing the acquiring will be much more realistic about company valuations now than they were in the any-price-goes Nineties.

"Today, for a designer to be viable is no different from any other company," Ruzow said. "They have to be profitable. They might lose a little money on the couture or rtw side of the business because that’s the show and you have to have a show, but they have to be profitable with fragrance and accessories. At the end of the day, they have to make money overall, and few designers do."

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