French luxury brands eye Turkey as Mideast hub

French luxury brands eye Turkey as Mideast hub

PARIS - Agence France-Presse
French luxury brands eye Turkey as Mideast hub

A festival will take place from Jan 16 to 22 in İstinye Park shopping mall and the Nişantaşı shopping district. REUTERS photo

Giants of the French luxury fashion industry, including Chanel, Dior, Hermes and Louis Vuitton, will hit Istanbul in January in a joint drive to build ties with the booming market and Middle Eastern trade hub.
Under the umbrella of the Comite Colbert association, 26 firms will take part in an Istanbul festival from Jan. 16 to 22, aimed at showcasing the best of French luxury brands in partnership with contemporary French and Turkish artists.

Taking place in the İstinye Park shopping mall and the up-market Nişantaşı shopping district, the event aims to promote the cultural side of French luxury brands but also marks Turkey’s rise as a market for the sector. “It is time to start thinking about where tomorrow’s growth will come from,” the committee’s head Elisabeth Ponsolle des Portes told a Paris press conference.

‘Istanbul becoming regional trendsetter’

After the dynamic growth of the BRICS, Brazil, Russia, India and China, attention is turning to Turkey as one of the CIVETS group of emerging economies, along with Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt and South Africa. Turkey presently accounts for just 2 percent of the combined turnover of the 75 firms represented by the Comite Colbert, a total of 31 billion euros, but its growth is “extremely strong,” said Ponsolle des Portes.

French luxury firms present in Turkey have seen their turnover grow by an annual average of 30 percent over the last five years. “Turkey is taking on a more and more important regional role,” she said. “The country, and especially the city of Istanbul, is becoming a regional trendsetter. For the last two to three years it has attracted a clientele from the Gulf countries – who previously flocked to Beirut – as well as from the ex-Soviet republics.” Istanbul accounts for the bulk of the Turkish luxury market, with two further luxury malls to be developed in the city. Some 25 chief executives will fly into Istanbul to launch the January event, along with the French Foreign Trade Minister Nicole Bricq.

The business delegation will also press Turkish authorities to improve their access to the national market by slashing high taxes on foreign luxury goods such as leather and foodstuffs and to fight counterfeiting, which is still rife in Turkey.