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LVMH chief Bernard Arnault ordered a makeover for Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue store after getting lost inside

Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, speaks during a news conference to present the 2022 annual results of LVMH in Paris, France, January 26, 2023.Bernard Arnault speaks in Paris in January.

Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

  • LVMH’s CEO ordered a makeover of Tiffany’s flagship Fifth Avenue store after getting lost in it.
  • He told The Wall Street Journal he canceled plans to revive the store’s dark wood interior.
  • The lengthy renovation might have cost LVMH up to $500 million, according to analysts.

LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault got lost inside Tiffany’s flagship New York store, which led him to order a complete revamp of the building that cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

In a rare interview with The Wall Street Journal, the world’s richest person said he was given a tour of the Fifth Avenue store by a senior Tiffany executive as he was negotiating to acquire the luxury jeweler in 2019

“We got lost in the building,” Arnault said. “Here is a guy getting lost in his own shop. I said, ‘We have some work to do on this.'”

Tiffany store Fifth AvenueThe Tiffany flagship store on Fifth Avenue pictured in 1995.

Getty Images

Arnault ordered a complete revision to renovation plans that focused on the traditional dark wooden interior of the store when it first opened in 1940. 

“We decided to stop this and do something else, which is more in line with the beauty and the myth which is Tiffany,” he told the newspaper. “Tiffany is, I think, the most recognizable and the most mythical US brand in the world.”

LVMH finally struck a $15.8 billion takeover of Tiffany in 2021 following an acrimonious process interrupted by the pandemic.

Arnault tried to back out of the deal when COVID-19 appeared to have significantly damaged the luxury sector. He was able to lower the price by $425 million, per Reuters

Since the acquisition, LVMH has overhauled the design of Tiffany’s flagship store, which reopened Wednesday after being closed since 2019. 

Tiffany & Co. brand ambassador Gal Gadot, Alexandre Arnault (left) and Tiffany CEO Anthony Ledru open the revamped Fifth Avenue store on April 26.Tiffany & Co. brand ambassador Gal Gadot, Alexandre Arnault (left) and Tiffany CEO Anthony Ledru open the revamped Fifth Avenue store on April 26.

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

This includes a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat in a robin’s-egg blue similar to Tiffany’s boxes that hangs on the ground floor, per the Journal. There is also an so-called Audrey Room on the fifth floor, containing the Givenchy dress Audrey Hepburn wore in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

audrey hepburn breakfast at tiffanys egotAudrey Hepburn in the 1961 film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Paramount Pictures

LVMH is thought to have spent hundreds of millions on the revamp, with the Journal quoting analysts who estimated the bill to be about $500 million. 

When asked about that figure, Arnault told the Journal: “You cannot dream when you talk numbers. When you create desire, profits are a consequence.” 

He also revealed that Tiffany’s profits had doubled in the past two years since the takeover. 

The New York flagship accounted for a tenth of its entire 10% global sales in 2019, previous management disclosed.

LVMH didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, made outside normal working hours.

Read the original article on Business Insider