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20 : 04 : 21

Louis Vuitton launches an opulent oud fragrance, Starbucks’ re-usable cups support eco-conscious coffee drinkers and US stores set for widespread closures.

Louis Vuitton’s ultra-luxe fragrance has just three ingredients

Pur Oud by Louis Vuitton, France
Pur Oud by Louis Vuitton, France
Pur Oud by Louis Vuitton

France – Luxury brand Louis Vuitton has introduced its most exclusive scent to date, containing a high concentration of a rare natural ingredient.

Only 2,000 bottles of the scent, Pur Oud, will be available, making it the brand’s rarest perfume offering to date. Consisting almost entirely of the natural essence of oud – a substance derived from agarwood – the simple yet opulent fragrance acquires its luxurious status owing to the process of its creation. While oud occurs naturally in agarwood, it often takes hundreds of years for the resinous substance to form as an oil that can be converted into perfume. The result is an earthy, amber scent with spicy accents offset by just two soft white musks.

‘I wanted to offer enthusiasts the chance to smell true oud, which is rare, without altering the scent with additional notes and instead letting it express itself on its own,’ explains Jacques Cavallier Belletrud, the perfumier behind Pur Oud. ‘Three ingredients, that’s all. Richness doesn’t preclude simplicity, quite the contrary.’

In our Ascetic Luxurians community, we identify a subset of luxury consumers who reject mass consumption.

So Perf offers tummy-friendly treats for children

So Perf Kids, UK So Perf Kids, UK
So Perf Kids, UK So Perf Kids, UK

UK – The snack brand is catering for the need for healthier children's snacks that prioritise gut health.

So Perf bars, which are available in both adult and child varieties, contain superfoods, prebiotics and probiotics, and no added refined sugar. Available in flavours such as Peruvian Cacao and Coconut and Wild Berries & Cashews, the bars offer a more conscious yet flavoursome option for kids snacking. Developed with nutritionists and gut health specialists, the brand recognises the need for gut-focused foods that specifically target children.

‘We set off on a mission to drive awareness and to help other people and parents who are dealing with similar health issues,’ explains Tatia Tavberidze, co-founder of So Perf. ‘To achieve our goal, we started working with top nutritionists and factories in the UK to develop the healthiest and most delicious prebiotic and probiotic bars and juices possible to be readily available to the masses.’

With considerations around health starting at a younger age, there is a need for brands to support parents in making more conscious choices for their children. In Healthy Baby Bites, we explore this demand in the baby food sector.

Starbucks’ re-usable cup programme minimises waste

Borrow A Cup by Starbucks, US Borrow A Cup by Starbucks, US

Seattle – Coffee chain Starbucks is aiming to reduce the amount of waste it creates with its new re-usable cup programme.

Its Borrow A Cup initiative will initially be launched as a two-month trial in five Seattle stores, empowering its customers to engage in more sustainable practices. The programme will allow consumers to receive their drink in a re-usable cup, before returning it to participating stores’ contactless kiosks or via at-home recycling service Ridwell. Starbucks will then clean and sanitise the cups to be used for future orders.

By partnering with Ridwell, a company already operating a home-based service to dispose of hard-to-recycle items, the system provides an example of how companies like Starbucks can better support consumers in sustainable behaviours. Michael Kobori, chief sustainability officer at Starbucks, says: ‘We understand the interdependency of human and planetary health, and we believe it is our responsibility to reduce single-use cup waste.’

While takeaway food and beverages remain popular, brands have a responsibility to offer more sustainable packaging alternatives. For more, read our Eco To Go microtrend.

Stat: Mass US store closures predicted in the coming years

Off White flagship by Virgil Abloh, Miami Design District Off White flagship by Virgil Abloh, Miami Design District

Many physical stores are likely to close across the US in the next five years, according to a UBS report.

Given the current state of retail and the onslaught of the pandemic, the report predicts that about 80,000 stores will shut across the country by 2026. This figure assumes that e-commerce sales will rise to account for 27% of total retail sales – up from 18% today. UBS expects that closures will mostly hit stores that sell clothing and accessories and forecasts that about 21,000 will shut by 2026.

‘An enduring legacy of the pandemic is that online penetration rose sharply,’ says Michael Lasser, an analyst at UBS. ‘We expect that it will continue to increase, which will drive further rationalisation of retail stores, especially as some of the unique support measures from the government subside.’

As store closures abound, vacant stores and shopping malls will need to innovate to give these spaces a new lease of life. Discover more in our Repurposed Retail Market.

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