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A model displays a bag from a Prada 2013 collection at Milan Fashion Week in Italy. Sales of pricey handbags and other bits of bling to Chinese customers are slowing.
A model displays a bag from a Prada 2013 collection at Milan Fashion Week in Italy. Sales of pricey handbags and other bits of bling to Chinese customers are slowing.
(ALESSANDRO GAROFALO/REUTERS)

Can men’s wear save Prada’s growth story?

Like most purveyors of high-end goods, Prada Spa depends heavily on China and a handful of other emerging markets for outsized growth and profits. And these days, China isn’t co-operating quite the way it once did.

Sales of everything from Prada’s $3,000-plus handbags to pricey booze and wine have been slowing since Beijing began tackling rampant corruption, reining in lavish spending by government officials and barring them from offering or receiving luxury gifts. With nearly 40,000 people ensnared in bribery and other corruption probes, it’s understandable that many Chinese bureaucrats and executives are nervous about their families even entering the local Prada or Gucci emporium, let alone purchasing anything expensive.