When investors talk about "recession-proof stocks," they are usually referring to companies that will continue to survive and thrive even if their customers have to tighten the metaphorical belt and pinch the proverbial penny. No matter how bad things get, the common wisdom goes that there will always be a place for budget retail, consumer staples, waste management, and even stress-relieving commodities like alcohol and cigarettes.
But on the opposite end of the spectrum is the kind of company that has safely ridden history's successive waves of boom and bust. These are the stocks that cater to the well-to-do, the mega-rich, and the rich-at-heart, for whom minor fluctuations in price matter little if it means acquiring status or signaling success. Here are three luxury stocks that sparkle all year round:
When it comes to brand building and commanding a superior price, nobody does it better than Tiffany (NYSE: TIF). Through its flagship Manhattan store, its international prestige, and its association with one of Hollywood's most famous films, the company sells its iconic products at an astonishing markup. Each year, Tiffany reports gross margins in excess of 60%, while rival Signet Jewelers barely manages 40%. This amazing leverage has been criticized from some quarters as little more than selling consumers an iconic blue box, but even so, Tiffany's success only proves the alchemy of brand.
Indeed, Tiffany is doing better than ever. In January, the company reported that 2018 had brought in record net sales growth of $4.4 billion. Investors were especially excited to see that the all-important Asia-Pacific region had seen a sales climb of about 13%. It seems it's always a good time for breakfast at Tiffany's.
2. Capri Holdings
Capri Holdings (NYSE: CPRI), better known by its former name, Michael Kors Holdings, is the luxury multinational behind some of the world's best-selling luxury handbags, watches, shoes, and other accessories.
A staple of the fashion world since its inception in 1981, Capri Holdings has been pushing the boundary for as long as it has been around, often through strategic acquisitions. In 2017, the company purchased the beloved shoe brand Jimmy Choo for $1.35 billion, but its most famous bid to dominate the luxury goods market came at the end of last year, when it acquired the iconic Italian clothing brand Versace for $2.1 billion.
The decision saw a mixed response, but since the Versace brand reliably generates revenue north of $800 billion per year, we should see the investment begin to pay off for this fashion giant very soon indeed.
Headquartered in the ever-fashionable city of London, Burberry Group (LSE: BRBY) has high-street stores in more than 50 countries, with consumers around the world attracted to its stylish offering of cosmetics, fragrances, sunglasses, and outerwear.
Founded in 1856 by 21-year-old Thomas Burberry, the company has been responsible for outfitting some of history's greatest explorers, including South Pole explorer Roald Amundsen and Antarctic expeditioner Ernest Shackleton. Furthermore, the company is also credited with launching and branding the trench coat, originally used by soldiers in the World War I.
Clearly, Burberry has had an outsize role in the intersection between fashion and history, but it continues to be a major presence in the world of high-end goods. In May of this year, the company reported that its runway collection and summer range is seeing double-digit growth as it continues to reinvest in its world-famous flagship stores.