Lethal Luxury?

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Already crippled by the battering recession, flailing consumer confidence, and shrunken profits, the luxury industry would last expect violence surging into the equation.

Since the Mumbai attacks in December 2008 on luxury hotel resorts, there was a report in Paris about one of their famed department stores, Printemps Haussman, threatened of an attack. Police found a bundle of dynamite on the third floor’s restroom.

French news agency Agence France-Presse said it received a letter Tuesday morning from a group calling itself the Afghan Revolutionary Front saying that several bombs had been planted in the store. Police said they searched the store and found the dynamite because of the warning.

Fortunately, nobody was hurt and the store was safely evacuated. However this was not the first time a Paris department store had been targeted, previously in 1985, there was a wave of explosions in Paris’ Les Galeries Lafayette injuring 43 people.

Also in December, a jewelry heist at Harry Winston in Paris took place, suspected to be the Pink Panthers’ handywork, a network of robbers located all over Europe. The total loot amounted to over $105 million.

…[Interpol] blame the group for scooping up jewels worth more than $132 million in bold robberies in Dubai, Switzerland, Japan, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Monaco.

Sadly, these are not pages of a movie script like Oceans’ Eleven, it is real life and I’m afraid that the violence may escalate. Studies have shown that copycats of  famous attacks (like the Columbine shootings) escalate due to the media coverage and attention. Could the Mumbai attacks have spawned the Paris threats? What of other luxury tourist destinations? Are they also at risk?

One thing is for certain, people are on their guard.

The annual Sustainable Luxury Conference, hosted by Suzy Menkes, was supposed to be held on Dec. 3rd and 4th in New Delhi, but because of the Mumbai attacks it has been pushed back to March 25th-26th. “Publisher Stephen Dunbar-Johnson assured security will be at a maximum,” says WWD.

The good news is that the copycat violence dies down after a couple of months. It’s one thing to lose out on a lot of money, it’s another thing to have dead customers in your luxury store.

Written by Dahlia

January 7, 2009 at 9:50 am

One Response

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  1. Yoiks. I had not heard these alarming reports. I suppose it’s natural that criminals would hit when times are hard, but still depressing. The optimist in me expects a spirit of camaraderie when hardship strikes …


    January 7, 2009 at 10:21 am

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