Burberry CEO to Entrench Brand in Luxury Amidst Investors’ Concern

The exterior of a Burberry store is seen in central London, Britain, November 3, 2017. Picture taken November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
The exterior of a Burberry store is seen in central London, Britain, November 3, 2017. Picture taken November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
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Burberry CEO to Entrench Brand in Luxury Amidst Investors’ Concern

The exterior of a Burberry store is seen in central London, Britain, November 3, 2017. Picture taken November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
The exterior of a Burberry store is seen in central London, Britain, November 3, 2017. Picture taken November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Last week, the fashion industry woke up to a plunge in European shares, of which British luxury brand Burberry was one of its victims.

Shares dived after the company’s new Chief Executive Marco Gobbetti had introduced his plan to shift further up-market with more high-end products, fast-changing fashion and refurbished stores, leaving investors focused on the cost of the new strategy.

The announcement caused shares in the 161-year-old retailer to plummet 9.9 percent, despite reporting a 17 percent jump in half-year profits to £185million and a 4 percent rise in sales to £1.3billion.

The company, which announced last week that Christopher Bailey, the designer who turned Burberry into a global label, would leave next year, said it would cut sales to non-luxury stores, initially in the United States, enhancing the brand’s exclusivity.

The company, which still manufactures its trademark trench coats in northern England, will refresh ranges more often, constantly bringing out new designs to meet the expectations of young consumers, and will also focus on higher-margin handbags.

But shares in the group fell as much as 14 percent as the company outlined the cost of the transformation, including rationalizing distribution and refurbishing its stores. They were trading down nearly 10 percent at 17.89 pounds by 1520 GMT.

Gobbetti, who took over as CEO from Bailey in July, said Burberry had been outpaced in recent years by French and Italian rivals in the luxury fashion segment of the market.

“We must sharpen our brand position, we must move up to plant ourselves firmly in luxury,” he said on Thursday.

The company must “respond to customers who want fashion and newness,” he said.

He said some products, like a simple polo shirt, needed to be priced about 50 percent higher to match other luxury players.



Once-high-flying Retailer ASOS Falls after FTSE 250 Relegation

FILE PHOTO: Smartphone with an ASOS app and a keyboard are seen in front of a displayed ASOS logo in this illustration picture taken October 13, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Smartphone with an ASOS app and a keyboard are seen in front of a displayed ASOS logo in this illustration picture taken October 13, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
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Once-high-flying Retailer ASOS Falls after FTSE 250 Relegation

FILE PHOTO: Smartphone with an ASOS app and a keyboard are seen in front of a displayed ASOS logo in this illustration picture taken October 13, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Smartphone with an ASOS app and a keyboard are seen in front of a displayed ASOS logo in this illustration picture taken October 13, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

ASOS, the British online fashion pioneer valued at more than 7 billion pounds ($8.8 billion) just over two years ago, has been relegated from the FTSE 250 index of mid-sized companies, illustrating the sharp decline in its fortunes.

It shares fell 3% to a 12-year low of 333 pence in early deals on Thursday, giving it a market value of about 400 million pounds, following the quarterly reshuffle by FTSE Russell. It will move to the FTSE SmallCap index on June 16.

The company, like rival Boohoo, grew rapidly as 20-somethings around the world snapped up its fast fashion, and demand surged again during the pandemic when high street rivals were closed.

But it has been hit by supply chain issues, high product returns, increased competition and a cost-of-living squeeze. Earlier this month it posted a first-half loss of 87.4 million pounds.

British Land was the only company relegated from the FTSE 100 index in the June quarterly review, FTSE Russell said. It will be replaced by engineering group IMI.


Shein Plans to Bolster Compliance and Logistics Execs Ahead of US Marketplace

FILE PHOTO: A Shein logo is pictured at the company's office in the central business district of Singapore, October 18, 2022. REUTERS/Chen LinREUTERS
FILE PHOTO: A Shein logo is pictured at the company's office in the central business district of Singapore, October 18, 2022. REUTERS/Chen LinREUTERS
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Shein Plans to Bolster Compliance and Logistics Execs Ahead of US Marketplace

FILE PHOTO: A Shein logo is pictured at the company's office in the central business district of Singapore, October 18, 2022. REUTERS/Chen LinREUTERS
FILE PHOTO: A Shein logo is pictured at the company's office in the central business district of Singapore, October 18, 2022. REUTERS/Chen LinREUTERS

Fast-fashion retailer Shein is boosting senior leaders and executives to roll out its US marketplace and to meet regulatory compliance as it deepens its footprint in North America and looks to diversify away from China.

The company is hiring a US head of logistics, who will be a liaison between Shein’s US and Singapore headquarters, according to a LinkedIn job posting. The company is also hiring an anti-money laundering and compliance executive and a number of US marketplace personnel, as reported by Modern Retail, Reuters reported.

The hiring comes as Shein, a Singapore-based, China-founded e-retailer, faces more scrutiny from US lawmakers who have worries about the company’s connections to China. It is not clear when the company wants to fill the role.

The head of logistics will manage Shein’s relationships with its third-party logistics companies, warehouses and trucking companies. The person will also help the retailer’s overseas logistics team “optimize the import process and handle some daily customs clearance exceptions (cross-border sellers’ orders),” according to the job posting.

Shein, which gained popularity in the US for its $10 dresses and $5 accessories, has come under scrutiny by multiple governments for its relationship with China. US and Brazil lawmakers have particularly criticized its use of customs exemptions that allows low-cost packages shipped directly to consumers to enter the countries duty-free. Brazil is still deciding on a tax rate for shipments from international e-commerce companies.

The US exemption, which was raised from $200 to $800 in 2016, was originally created to offset the costs of checking low-priced shipments, but critics say that e-commerce companies, especially those from China, have disproportionately benefited from it. Critics of the exemption also worry that de minimis shipments from China evade regulations banning forced labor in the consumer product supply chain.

A bipartisan group of two dozen US representatives in May called for the Securities and Exchange Commission to halt Shein's planned initial public offering until it verifies it does not use forced labor.

A separate group of lawmakers on the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party sent a letter to Shein in May citing forced labor concerns and its use of de minimis. The company has denied using forced labor and previously said it is voluntarily cooperating with the Committee as it is "committed to respecting human rights and adhering to local laws and regulations in each market” it operates in.


Michael Kors Owner Capri Posts Upbeat Sales, Profit on China Recovery

People walk by a Michael Kors store in Lakewood, Colorado June 1, 2016. (Reuters)
People walk by a Michael Kors store in Lakewood, Colorado June 1, 2016. (Reuters)
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Michael Kors Owner Capri Posts Upbeat Sales, Profit on China Recovery

People walk by a Michael Kors store in Lakewood, Colorado June 1, 2016. (Reuters)
People walk by a Michael Kors store in Lakewood, Colorado June 1, 2016. (Reuters)

Michael Kors parent Capri Holdings Ltd on Wednesday beat estimates for fourth-quarter revenue and profit, buoyed by a sales rebound in China following easing of pandemic-related curbs late last year.

Shares of the luxury group, which also owns Versace and Jimmy Choo brands, rose 5% in premarket trading.

Chinese consumers, unshackled from COVID-19 restrictions, have returned to splurging on luxury handbags and apparel, countering a slowdown in demand from the company's North American market which accounted for 57% of the group's revenue in 2022.

Capri posted adjusted earnings per share of 97 cents, higher than 94 cents that analysts had expected.

The luxury group posted quarterly revenue of $1.34 billion, compared with analysts' average estimate of $1.28 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.


Russian Clothing Brands Plug Gap Left by Western Rivals 

A seamstress works on a piece of Russian brand "Closer" at a sewing workshop in Moscow, Russia April 20, 2023. (Reuters)
A seamstress works on a piece of Russian brand "Closer" at a sewing workshop in Moscow, Russia April 20, 2023. (Reuters)
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Russian Clothing Brands Plug Gap Left by Western Rivals 

A seamstress works on a piece of Russian brand "Closer" at a sewing workshop in Moscow, Russia April 20, 2023. (Reuters)
A seamstress works on a piece of Russian brand "Closer" at a sewing workshop in Moscow, Russia April 20, 2023. (Reuters)

Russian designers and brands are helping the retail sector gradually recover from a turbulent 15 months of store closures and slumping demand, with new labels plugging the gap left by foreign rivals and shoppers tentatively returning.

Hundreds of foreign retailers shut up shop in response to Russia dispatching troops to Ukraine in February 2022, leaving some of Moscow's most prestigious streets with boarded up stores and the industry reeling from a roughly $2.5 billion hit.

Spain's Inditex flagship Zara store in central Moscow, which sat idle for over a year, last month reopened under new management and a new brand, MAAG, leaving customers largely satisfied.

"It looks like nothing has changed since you-know-who was here," Moscow resident Anton told Reuters outside the store.

Fellow Muscovite Antonina said: "I did not find any differences apart from the variety of choice. There's less of everything at the moment."

Money talking

Retail sales, a key gauge of consumer demand, slumped in 2022, hit by soaring inflation and falling wages, while the Western exodus contributed to heavy industry losses, said Oleg Klimov, the president of Russia's Council of Shopping Centers, with logistics and payment concerns taking months to resolve.

"People in general just did not understand what was going on," he told Reuters. "They did not want to spend money. The losses were about 200 billion roubles ($2.47 billion).

"But it is recovering now," he added. "Money always eventually changes hands."

Russians' access to Western products, such as McDonald's burgers and Levi's jeans - symbols of the kind of freedom capitalism could offer as the Soviet Union collapsed - is waning.

Gloria Jeans, once a re-seller of Levi's jeans, has taken over Swedish retailer H&M's central Moscow store.

And the West's shunning of Russia, along with export bans and punitive sanctions, complicates trading routes.

"The biggest problem is international transactions," said Ksenia Zhdanova, who runs her own KSEW clothing brand and is commercial director for online Russian designer wear marketplace Richmill.

"Our industry is extremely dependent on import."

Another problem is the shortage of staff, Zhdanova said, citing a lack of seamstresses and professionals in textiles that she believed only government-led initiatives could resolve.

Russians have developed solutions with small-scale imports and online sellers helping to keep foreign brands alive, but some things remain difficult to find.

Shopper Irina Nikulina said she did not miss foreign brands too much, except when needing something simple, like a reasonably priced white t-shirt.

Tatiana Vakhonina said she missed Swedish furniture giant IKEA and Zara the most.

"We go to Kazakhstan for shopping now," she said. "But some things cannot you buy at all anymore."


Ralph Lauren Results Top Estimates as Shoppers Snap up Polos, Pricey Sweaters

People sit outside a Ralph Lauren store on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. (Reuters)
People sit outside a Ralph Lauren store on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. (Reuters)
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Ralph Lauren Results Top Estimates as Shoppers Snap up Polos, Pricey Sweaters

People sit outside a Ralph Lauren store on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. (Reuters)
People sit outside a Ralph Lauren store on New Bond Street in London, Britain, March 11, 2023. (Reuters)

Ralph Lauren Corp beat profit estimates and reported a surprise rise in fourth-quarter revenue on Thursday as its new seasonal collections resonated with affluent shoppers at a time when luxury spending has cooled in the United States.

The company's shares rose nearly 8% after it also posted a more than 30% jump in sales in China, with demand in the key luxury market rebounding sharply.

While overall US luxury spending has taken a hit, Ralph Lauren's moves to double down on its outdoor wear and women's clothing collections have drawn more shoppers.

Strong demand for its cable-knit sweaters and Polos have also helped the company keep promotions minimal, with quarterly revenue in North America, its biggest market, decreasing a smaller-than-expected 3%.

Ralph Lauren's core higher-income customer base has been resilient, even in North America, Chief Executive Patrice Louvet said.

"(The) more value-oriented consumers are a smaller part of our customer base and getting smaller and smaller, as we bring in more higher-value consumers."

Meanwhile, luxury companies ranging from LVMH and Gucci-owner Kering to Coach handbag maker Tapestry have flagged softer demand in the United States.

"Ralph Lauren has been running a really good business on all fronts, so even in a volatile sort of time, they've been able to have a decent performance," said Jessica Ramirez, senior analyst at Jane Hali and Associates.

The company's Asia segment revenue rose 13% to $390 million.

Fourth-quarter net revenue increased 1% to $1.54 billion, compared with analysts' estimates of a drop to $1.47 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Excluding items, Ralph Lauren earned 90 cents per share, beating estimates of 61 cents.

The company forecast fiscal 2024 revenue to increase in the low-single digit range, on a constant currency basis. Analysts are expecting a 5.6% rise to $6.73 billion.


Louis Vuitton Braves Rain on Its Italian Island Paradise

Bad weather was likely not top of mind when the storied luxury label chose Isola Bella as the venue for its Cruise 2024 collection. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
Bad weather was likely not top of mind when the storied luxury label chose Isola Bella as the venue for its Cruise 2024 collection. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
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Louis Vuitton Braves Rain on Its Italian Island Paradise

Bad weather was likely not top of mind when the storied luxury label chose Isola Bella as the venue for its Cruise 2024 collection. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
Bad weather was likely not top of mind when the storied luxury label chose Isola Bella as the venue for its Cruise 2024 collection. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

Louis Vuitton valiantly battled pounding rain on an Italian island paradise while presenting its cruise collection Wednesday night, the weather sending celebrity guests underneath umbrellas and dampening a hairdo or two.

But when you're the flagship brand within the powerhouse LVMH portfolio, with a guest list that includes Catherine Deneuve, Cate Blanchett and Emma Stone, what's a little rain?

Bad weather was likely not top of mind when the storied luxury label led by Nicolas Ghesquiere chose the tiny Isola Bella, a jewel of an island in the azure waters of Lake Maggiore, as an appropriately jaw-dropping venue for its Cruise 2024 collection, AFP said.

But the rain arrived nonetheless, forcing the show originally planned for the island's formal terraced gardens to take place within the baroque Palazzo Borromeo, still owned by the family of the same name whose noble ancestry dates to the 13th century.

"It's the one thing Nicolas can't control, is the weather," the editor-in-chief of Vogue Thailand, Ford Laosuksri, told AFP after the show, as guests lingered to sip bubbly while hoping (in vain) for the rain to stop.

Laosuksri was wearing a crocheted floral top and sandals -- an endearing if not foolhardy gesture amid the steady rain.

"I didn't want to ruin my velvet shoes," he confided.

Ghesquiere, Louis Vuitton's artistic director since 2013, sent models through the ornate, high-ceilinged rooms of the 17th-century palazzo in eclectic, futuristic creations for which he is celebrated.

Some looks recalled scuba gear adorned with avant garde ruffling, while others felt like fencers' uniforms, protective with thick quilting over the chest.

Fabric was cinched tight like an accordion at the bodice of a sleeveless dress with color blocks in royal blue and yellow gold, imparting texture and movement, while a shiny black dress came with a drawstring neckline that called to mind a popular handbag by the brand.

Sweaters became more airy with a translucent stripe at the midriff, while three chiffon gowns cut on the bias -- in dusty pink, sea green and baby blue -- sported exaggerated puffy sleeves worthy of the Edwardian age.

"It was beautiful, it was flowy but still powerful," said Philippine actress Heart Evangelista.

From fishing to fashion

Louis Vuitton's event was the first-ever fashion show allowed on Isola Bella, a former fishing village transformed by the Borromeos into a sumptuous paradise fit for royalty.

Kings, queens and emperors have been guests at Palazzo Borromeo over the years, including Queen Victoria, Napoleon and Josephine, and even Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1985.

On Wednesday celebrities and influencers from around the world -- including US actress Jennifer Connelly and Felix from K-Pop's Stray Kids -- descended on the island.

Trying not to slip, guests took cover under the transparent umbrellas provided by the brand before escaping into the palazzo.

Following the show, some guests stood on benches and posed for pictures under the watchful gaze of centuries of Borromeo elders whose portraits line the walls.

Cruise collections are designed to offer warm-weather wardrobes for jet-setters lucky enough to escape to sunny locales during the drab winter months. In recent years, they have become destination events, with brands choosing more and more exotic spots to backdrop their luxury looks.

Louis Vuitton's show comes on the heels of Dior's, which showed a Frida Kahlo-inspired cruise collection in Mexico City Saturday, and Chanel's earlier this month at Hollywood's Paramount Studios.


CEO: M&S Will Pass on Lower Costs to Consumers Immediately

Logo of Marks & Spencer. Reuters file photo
Logo of Marks & Spencer. Reuters file photo
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CEO: M&S Will Pass on Lower Costs to Consumers Immediately

Logo of Marks & Spencer. Reuters file photo
Logo of Marks & Spencer. Reuters file photo

British retailer Marks & Spencer will pass on lower costs to consumers as soon as commodity prices come down, chief executive Stuart Machin said on Wednesday.
"As commodity prices come down, of course we will pass that on immediately," Machin told reporters.

Marks & Spencer sees profit in its current financial year coming in about five to ten million pounds lower than the 482 million pounds ($608 million) it made in the 2022/23 financial year as higher costs weigh on its bottom line.
"The 2023/24 numbers might be just slightly below, five to 10 million below, what we delivered in 22/23 but we're going to do everything during the year to try and offset that," Interim Chief Financial Officer Jeremy Townsend told reporters.


Report: Japan's Uniqlo to Exit Russia, Paving Way for Sale of Business

FILE PHOTO: A shopper looks on, inside a Fast Retailing's Uniqlo casual clothing store in Tokyo, Japan January 11, 2023. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A shopper looks on, inside a Fast Retailing's Uniqlo casual clothing store in Tokyo, Japan January 11, 2023. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo
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Report: Japan's Uniqlo to Exit Russia, Paving Way for Sale of Business

FILE PHOTO: A shopper looks on, inside a Fast Retailing's Uniqlo casual clothing store in Tokyo, Japan January 11, 2023. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A shopper looks on, inside a Fast Retailing's Uniqlo casual clothing store in Tokyo, Japan January 11, 2023. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

Japanese brand Uniqlo has decided to leave Russia after suspending its operation there last year, paving the way for a sale of the business, the Izvestia newspaper cited Russia's deputy trade minister as saying.

Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing suspended the clothing brand's operations in Russia in March, 2022, joining scores of international companies, after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in what it dubbed a "special military operation".

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Viktor Yevtukhov said the company has decided to completely leave Russia but has not yet submitted an application to the government, which means the chain has no buyer yet, Izvestia reported on Tuesday.

"I think they can offer potential buyers their business model," Izvestia cited Yevtukhov as saying. "The Japanese retailer will be able to offer ... lease agreements, popular points of sale with the good buyers traffic and equipment."

Fast Retailing said in a statement its operation in Russia remains suspended, adding some stores were closed with "no foreseeable prospects to resume operations."

The company will continue to monitor the situation closely and make decisions accordingly, the statement said.

Tadashi Yanai, the founder of Fast Retailing, told Japanese media earlier that Uniqlo was operating 50 stores in Russia.


Burberry Fourth Quarter Sales Jump 16% as China Rebounds

People wearing protective masks walk past a Burberry store at Covent Garden, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain June 15, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley
People wearing protective masks walk past a Burberry store at Covent Garden, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain June 15, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley
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Burberry Fourth Quarter Sales Jump 16% as China Rebounds

People wearing protective masks walk past a Burberry store at Covent Garden, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain June 15, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley
People wearing protective masks walk past a Burberry store at Covent Garden, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain June 15, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley

British luxury fashion brand Burberry (BRBY.L) reported stronger-than-expected fourth quarter sales on Thursday, boosted by a rebound in its largest market China following three years of COVID-19 restrictions.

In the quarter to April 1, comparable store sales rose 16%, accelerating from 1% in the third quarter and above a company compiled consensus of 14%. Sales in Mainland China rose 13%, Reuters reported.

"We have delivered a strong financial performance, supported by good progress in our core leather goods and outerwear categories, with revenue accelerating in the fourth quarter as growth rebounded in Mainland China," chief executive Jonathan Akeroyd said in a statement on Thursday.

The FTSE 100 (.FTSE) group's luxury rivals LVMH (LVMH.PA) and Hermes (HRMS.PA) have also reported a bounce in first quarter sales due to a recovery in China and wider Asian markets.

Burberry's results follow creative director Daniel Lee's first collection at London Fashion week in February as well as the launch of a new logo and campaign.


Iconic New York Discount Luxury Store Reopens After Pandemic Bust 

A customers shops during the reopening of the Century 21 flagship department store in New York City on May 16, 2023. (AFP)
A customers shops during the reopening of the Century 21 flagship department store in New York City on May 16, 2023. (AFP)
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Iconic New York Discount Luxury Store Reopens After Pandemic Bust 

A customers shops during the reopening of the Century 21 flagship department store in New York City on May 16, 2023. (AFP)
A customers shops during the reopening of the Century 21 flagship department store in New York City on May 16, 2023. (AFP)

Forced to shutter during the Covid-19 pandemic, discount luxury goods store Century21 reopened its flagship location in Manhattan on Tuesday, drawing elated crowds of bargain hunters back to the New York institution.

Shoppers traversed the city and even state borders to line up from as early as 6:00 am to be some of the first to enter the legendary Big Apple department store near the World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan.

Under red balloons and to the applause of Century21 owners the Gindi family, the first shoppers shouted with joy as they entered the store after three years of closure due to the pandemic, which brought New York to its knees in 2020 and 2021.

"It means so much to the people of New York," said 63-year-old Gale Kaplan, who traveled from Brooklyn across the East River for the reopening.

"During 9/11 it closed and when it reopened, everybody was so joyful, so to see it able to come back after Covid, it feels like a real new blossoming of New York and I'm just thrilled to be back here shopping."

Brooklyn was the home of the first iteration of Century21, founded in 1961 and decked with clothes and accessories from coveted brands such as Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Guess, Levi's, Kate Spade, Helmut Lang, but at end of stock reduced prices that defied all competition.

'The best store'

Melody White, 62, traveled from the borough of Queens to get in line by 6:00 am.

"I was really, really upset when they closed because it's the best store, you could get the best buys, nice clothes, everything."

Kaplan was "more excited standing on line to the Century21 opening than I was on line for the Sistine Chapel," she said.

"That's how happy I am."

Also all smiles, Century21 vice president Eddie Gindi said Tuesday was "an incredible day for us."

"Right now we're making history," he said, more than 20 years after almost disappearing after the September 11, 2001, attacks that destroyed the twin towers at the nearby World Trade Center, and three years after the company filed for bankruptcy as New York was battered by the pandemic.

"We don't take this for granted," he said.

New York Mayor Eric Adams, who has put the economic and touristic recovery of the megalopolis at the heart of his policies -- despite inflation -- was also celebrating, hugging the Gindi family in the store, its aisles again stacked with merchandise.

"When they had to close, it just broke their hearts. And all they thought about is how do we come back?... How do we serve the people? It was a main anchor for our tourists, they would come here and line up and shop, to see the good products that we had in all places," he said.

For Gindi, the grand reopening of Century21 "is bringing back the spirit of New York City like no other company can do because we are part of the thread of New York City," one of the world's leading economic and commercial centers.