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Escape to L.A.... U.K.'s Golden Luxury Market...

A good chunk of Young Hollywood cooled off at the Carrera Sunglasses Escape festivities at the Chateau Marmont over the weekend.

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PAVED WITH GOLD: The U.K. is a global superpower when it comes to luxury goods consumption, according to a report by Bain & Company prepared for Walpole, the association of British luxury brands. In 2010, the U.K. luxury market accounted for 8.8 billion euros, or $12.53 billion, or 5 percent of the total luxury market, which was worth 172 billion euros, or $244.93 billion, at current exchange. On a scale of cities, London is the third largest market for luxury goods after New York and Paris.

Over the past 15 years, luxury goods consumption in the country has snowballed and outperformed Britain’s gross-domestic product growth, 5.5 percent versus 2 percent, according to the report. Perfume and cosmetics is the biggest luxury category by far, followed by leather accessories, apparel and hard luxury goods.

In terms of distribution, half of all luxury sales come from stand-alone retail stores. The report pointed out that department stores, which dominate the wholesale channel in the U.K., are benefiting from the surge in spending from Chinese and Indian tourists and from sales of luxury goods, which account for about 70 percent of all department store sales.

The report said, however, that the wholesale channel has been “strongly impacted by the recession, and is losing its importance.” Meanwhile, online sales are “booming, but still at the development stage.” It said Net-a-Porter continues to dominate luxury online shopping, with consumers spending an average of 500 pounds, or $810, per transaction.

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