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Stephen Sadove Addresses World Retail Congress

Saks Inc.’s ceo was among the retail executives to participate in a panel discussion as the three-day event began in London on Wednesday.

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GLOBAL WORRY: “Of course I’m concerned, everyone’s concerned about a slowdown in luxury,” said Stephen I. Sadove, chief executive officer of Saks Inc., on the sidelines of the three-day World Retail Congress that kicked off Wednesday in London.

“There are a lot of concerns about the global economic situation, the upcoming elections, the fiscal cliff. But we feel confident about the long-term health of luxury, about growth in the sector and the opportunities that are out there.”

Earlier in the day, Sadove took part in a panel discussion about how retail is adapting to a world of unprecedented change, along with Philip Clarke, chief executive officer of Tesco; Marion King, president of MasterCard Worldwide in the U.K. and Ireland, and Rajan Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Wal-Mart.

Sadove said luxury consumers increasingly want their product “anywhere, anytime,” and that growth is coming from the interplay between the Internet and brick-and-mortar stores. “It’s the power of two. In addition, we’ve found that the consumer buys three to four times as much product if they’re buying across different channels,” he said.

Like so many other luxury retailers, he said, Saks is focused on attracting “the international tourist customer.” He said Saks will open a licensed store in Kazakhstan over the next few weeks, but confirmed a London opening was not in the cards. “I don’t think London needs another luxury department store.”

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