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Terror threat in Europe over U.S. Elections erode confidence of Globe’s big-spenders

Spending on luxury apparel, accessories and other personal items is expected to hold steady at 249 billion euros ($273 billion) this year

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People walk in front of Gucci shop in Monte Napoleone street in Milan, Italy, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. The terror threat in Europe, a strong dollar and uncertainty over the U.S. presidential elections have eroded the confidence of the globe's big-spenders, holding luxury purchases flat in 2016, according to a study released Thursday. VOA

The terror threat in Europe, a strong dollar and uncertainty over the U.S. presidential elections have eroded the confidence of the globe’s big-spenders, holding luxury purchases flat in 2016, according to a study released Thursday.

Spending on luxury apparel, accessories and other personal items is expected to hold steady at 249 billion euros ($273 billion) this year, a study by Bain Consultancy for the Altagamma association of Italian high-end luxury producers. Add in spending on luxury cars, yachts, jets, cruises, hotels, fine art, design and food, and the market tops a stunning 1 trillion euros.

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As political events and monetary policy exert greater influence on luxury spending patterns, brands have turned their focus to wooing buyers in their home countries rather than counting on tourist arrivals to buoy sales, said Bain partner Claudia D’Arpizio.

“This is not happening by default,” D’Arpizio. “Brands are refocusing on the local customer base and working to develop products that are more affordable and more inclusive to meet their needs.”

For the first time, spending by China’s super consumers shrank, albeit slightly from 31 percent of the total to 30 percent of the total. Part of the shift was due to an increase in the number of middle-class Chinese travelers, who collectively spend less than higher rollers, she said.

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While U.S. presidential elections always put the freeze on consumer spending, D’Arpizio said this year’s squeeze was a little tighter due to a strong dollar, which also hurt tourist spending, and higher oil prices.

In Europe, brands are also working to cultivate local buyers as the threat of terrorism has hurt tourism. They are seeing local consumption recover in Italy, Germany, Spain and Britain. But spending remains soft in France, with terror attacks impacting both tourists’ and locals’ sentiment, D’Arpizio said.

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Britain’s decision to exit the European Union so far has proven a boon for luxury spending, with the falling pound encouraging both domestic consumption and travelers to spend.

“Currently, London is the cheapest luxury market,” D’Arpizio said. (VOA)

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Man Accused in Christchurch Mosque Shootings Charged with Terrorism

The single charge filed Tuesday against Australian Brenton Tarrant is the first of its kind

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Man, Christchurch, Mosque, Terrorism
Brenton Tarrant, charged for murder in relation to the mosque attacks, is lead into the dock for his appearance in the Christchurch District Court, New Zealand, March 16, 2019. (Suspect's face blurred at source) VOA

Authorities in New Zealand have charged the self-avowed white supremacist who killed 51 worshippers at two Christchurch mosques back in March with terrorism.

The single charge filed Tuesday against Australian Brenton Tarrant is the first of its kind under New Zealand’s Terrorism Suppression Act, which was passed in 2002 in the wake of the al-Qaida-led terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. the previous year. Prosecutors have also charged him with an additional count of murder over a worshipper who died in the hospital earlier this month, along with two additional counts of attempted murder, bringing that number to 40.

Up to 200 family members of the victims and survivors of the attack were informed of the new charges at a private meeting with police.

The 28-year-old Tarrant live-streamed the March 15 shootings at the al-Noor and Linwood mosques on Facebook from a head-mounted camera.

Man, Christchurch, Mosque, Terrorism
Authorities in New Zealand have charged the self-avowed white supremacist who killed 51 worshippers at two Christchurch mosques. Flickr

He is currently being held at a maximum security prison where he was ordered to undergo psychiatric tests to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial. His next court date is June 14.

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The 28-year-old Tarrant e-mailed a lengthy white nationalist manifesto to more than 30 recipients just minutes before the attacks – including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – in which he allegedly denounced Muslims and called immigrants “invaders.” (VOA)