High fashion in couture offensive as 10,000 Ferragamo fakes are seized

Italian handbag brand leads the fight against the counterfeiters with war on websites

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The Independent Online

Salvatore Ferragamo has joined other fashion giants in pledging to thwart the sale of knock-off  designer clothes and accessories, after more than 10,000 counterfeit versions of its products were seized last year.

The Italian handbags and shoes specialist yesterday said it would step up its fight against the black market following the discovery of around 90,000 fake Ferragamo products advertised on online auctions in 2014.

The company said its lawyer had helped to ensure that 350 illegal websites were shut down in 2014, with a focus on China. Goods sold undercut genuine products, such as Ferragamo’s Verve Large Woven Tote bag, which sells for $3,600 (£2,500) in New York’s Saks Fifth Avenue department store.

Last year more than 10,000 counterfeit Ferragamo goods were seized and destroyed, and the Chinese customs authorities confiscated about 1,500 products that were leaving the country.

In total, the sale of goods worth a total $7m was blocked. The retailer has also won close to 10 civil court cases against those involved in illegal activities.

Ferruccio Ferragamo, the chairman, said: “In 2014 we increased the number of e-commerce sites that we monitor.  In China, we have also expanded our offline checks, targeting trade fairs and resellers in particular.”

The company added that its crackdown had been helped by domestic and international parties taking offences more seriously.

Louis Vuitton’s parent  group, LVMH, is another business that wants a crack-down, saying the luxury industry “is particularly hard-hit” by the counterfeiting of goods.

It said it has anti-counterfeiting measures for each of its brands, and a team of 60 people working on anti-counterfeiting, as well as investigators and lawyers.

Over the past three years actions have been carried out in China and Korea, among other countries.

The business is also pursuing a proactive policy to inform the general public about the problems connected with buying non-legitimate products.

Mr Ferragamo explained that his company would continue to combat fake goods sales. “We will further intensify our commitment to fighting counterfeiting in 2015.”

He added: “In this way, we will continue to wage this war with great determination, expanding controls both online and offline and ramping up anti-counterfeit measures, including with the customs authorities.”

Best foot forward: Asia loves Jimmy Choo

The luxury British shoe maker Jimmy Choo has hailed  a strong Asia market for fuelling a 6.5 per cent revenue rise in its first full-year results since listing on the London Stock Exchange last October.

The company saw turnover rise to £299.7m in 2014, from £281.5m the previous year.

Asia provided the lion’s share of sales,  vindicating the company’s strategic focus on the region

Its products were featured in a 2014 story line of My Love from the Star – a popular television series in South Korea – and the shoe featured has become a global bestseller.

Jimmy Choo plans to open 10 to 15 directly owned shops this year, with a focus on China.

The launch of Jimmy Choo Man, the brand’s first scent for men, also proved popular.

The group trimmed its losses in 2014 to £10.8m, from £17.7m a year earlier. Underlying earnings rose to £50.2m despite unfavourable foreign exchange movements.

Its shares fell 2.86 per cent to 170p.