Should You Beat Up Your Birkin? Why Worn-In Luxury Bags Are Selling Fast
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,601,123 (+0.24%)       Melbourne $996,554 (-0.47%)       Brisbane $965,329 (+0.91%)       Adelaide $861,275 (+0.19%)       Perth $827,650 (+0.13%)       Hobart $744,795 (-1.04%)       Darwin $668,587 (+0.50%)       Canberra $1,003,450 (-0.84%)       National $1,033,285 (+0.03%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $741,922 (-0.81%)       Melbourne $497,613 (+0.04%)       Brisbane $536,017 (+0.73%)       Adelaide $432,936 (+2.43%)       Perth $438,316 (+0.13%)       Hobart $527,196 (+0.43%)       Darwin $346,253 (+0.25%)       Canberra $489,192 (-0.99%)       National $524,280 (-0.05%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,012 (-365)       Melbourne 14,191 (-411)       Brisbane 7,988 (-300)       Adelaide 2,342 (-96)       Perth 6,418 (-180)       Hobart 1,349 (+24)       Darwin 236 (-2)       Canberra 995 (-78)       National 43,531 (-1,408)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,629 (-186)       Melbourne 8,026 (-98)       Brisbane 1,662 (-33)       Adelaide 437 (-23)       Perth 1,682 (-56)       Hobart 209 (-4)       Darwin 410 (+7)       Canberra 942 (-14)       National 21,997 (-407)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $780 ($0)       Melbourne $600 ($0)       Brisbane $630 ($0)       Adelaide $600 ($0)       Perth $675 (+$5)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $700 ($0)       Canberra $690 (-$3)       National $660 (+$)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $750 ($0)       Melbourne $595 (+$5)       Brisbane $630 ($0)       Adelaide $485 (+$5)       Perth $600 ($0)       Hobart $450 (-$20)       Darwin $550 (-$15)       Canberra $565 (+$5)       National $591 (-$1)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,001 (-128)       Melbourne 5,178 (-177)       Brisbane 3,864 (-72)       Adelaide 1,212 (+24)       Perth 1,808 (-26)       Hobart 372 (-8)       Darwin 113 (-16)       Canberra 534 (-16)       National 18,082 (-419)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,793 (-238)       Melbourne 4,430 (-58)       Brisbane 1,966 (-63)       Adelaide 334 (+12)       Perth 642 (+1)       Hobart 150 (-4)       Darwin 202 (-4)       Canberra 540 (-10)       National 15,057 (-364)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 2.53% (↓)     Melbourne 3.13% (↑)        Brisbane 3.39% (↓)       Adelaide 3.62% (↓)     Perth 4.24% (↑)      Hobart 3.84% (↑)        Darwin 5.44% (↓)     Canberra 3.58% (↑)      National 3.32% (↑)             UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.26% (↑)      Melbourne 6.22% (↑)        Brisbane 6.11% (↓)       Adelaide 5.83% (↓)       Perth 7.12% (↓)       Hobart 4.44% (↓)       Darwin 8.26% (↓)     Canberra 6.01% (↑)        National 5.86% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.8% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.0% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.1% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.5% (↑)        Hobart 1.4% (↓)     Darwin 1.7% (↑)      Canberra 1.4% (↑)      National 1.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND       Sydney 27.0 (↑)      Melbourne 28.2 (↑)      Brisbane 29.1 (↑)      Adelaide 24.2 (↑)      Perth 33.4 (↑)      Hobart 30.3 (↑)      Darwin 36.2 (↑)      Canberra 27.0 (↑)      National 29.4 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND       Sydney 26.7 (↑)      Melbourne 27.3 (↑)        Brisbane 27.2 (↓)     Adelaide 24.4 (↑)      Perth 37.1 (↑)      Hobart 28.9 (↑)        Darwin 42.7 (↓)     Canberra 30.5 (↑)      National 30.6 (↑)            
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Should You Beat Up Your Birkin? Why Worn-In Luxury Bags Are Selling Fast

Stylish women are pooh-pooing pristine purses. Is it fueled by inflation? Y2K nostalgia? Is it just cool? An investigation into the tattered-bag trend.

By KATHARINE K. ZARRELLA
Mon, Feb 27, 2023 9:07amGrey Clock 4 min

ABOUT 20 YEARS ago, while dining in San Francisco, Lisa Unger Sandman was nearly startled out of her seat. “Oh, my God! That should never be on the floor!” shrieked a woman at a nearby table, pointing to Ms. Unger Sandman’s black Hermès Kelly bag. Chastened, Ms. Unger Sandman, now a retired banker in Raleigh, N.C., snatched up her purse which, in the current market, often costs at least five figures. “It caught me off guard,” she recalled. Today, Ms. Unger Sandman, 60, would ignore such a reprimand and isn’t so worried if her Kelly risks bodily harm. “If a bag has a scratch on it, that means you’ve enjoyed it. I’m happy with the patina.”

Ms. Sandman’s attitude reflects a growing trend. Lately, women are both embracing their handbags’ scratches and stains and seeking out visibly worn-in styles on the secondhand market. In its 2023 luxury consignment report, resale site the RealReal noted higher demand than ever for bags in “fair” (i.e., heavily worn) condition. Similarly, at resale platform Vestiaire Collective, co-founder Sophie Hersan reports that sales of worn-in designer bags have jumped 13% in the last six months.

Why the sudden craving for beat-up bags? One of the biggest draws, posits Katie Devlin of trends and insights company Stylus, is the Y2K revival and the resurgence of “indie sleaze,” a grungy, aughts-era aesthetic. She references the circa-2010 style of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Famously on their arms back then: decimated Hermès Kellys and Balenciaga bags (like the one shown here). “It’s the idea of looking expensive but like you don’t care—of not looking overly curated,” said Ms. Devlin.

In that regard, the trend, which encompasses luxury bags by the likes of Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, as well as label-free vintage styles, may be a backlash to the picture-perfect world of Instagram and wealthy reality TV stars (see the seemingly untouched designer bags that line the Kardashian clan’s walk-in closets). “There’s a move away from this idealistic, filtered look we’re so used to seeing,” said Dayna Isom Johnson, a trend expert at online marketplace Etsy, where searches for Y2K handbags are up 51% in the last three months compared to the same period last year. “Now people are really embracing the realness and messiness that comes with living everyday life.” Not using something that costs so much, Ms. Isom added, makes people feel “very wasteful.” Elizabeth Layne, chief marketing officer of resale site Rebag, has observed a resistance to feeling “too precious about [luxury] workhorse bags of lower grades. You don’t have to worry if it gets a scuff.”

New York stylist Malina Joseph Gilchrist agrees. “There’s a quiet luxury thing happening…a reaction to a congested market of handbags that are logoed and attention-seeking.” With a worn-in bag, she said, “you look like you’re not trying too hard.”

For Sapna Bhatla, 42, a business strategy consultant in Philadelphia, beat-up bags—whether trendy or not—speak to her identity. After immigrating to the U.S. from India, her style-savvy mother would combine her traditional attire with vintage estate-sale finds. So “pristine feels contrived and inauthentic to me,” Ms. Bhatla said. “If you see my body, I have scars. I have marks. I have a life that’s been lived. And I’m happy to have signs to remind me of it. I like things that show a test of time and sturdiness and resilience.”

She owns an arsenal of worn-in designer purses—some she marred herself, others that she scooped up on eBay. Among her favourites is a decades-old, no-name leather bag she found at a Paris flea market. “I’m not so crazy about brand names when it comes to vintage. If it’s here today, it’s already good quality.”

Those scars should not be haphazardly patched up, said Sofia Bernardin, founder of luxury vintage platform ReSee. “There’s nothing worse than a badly repaired bag. It’s like a woman who’s had too much Botox—she’d have been better off not doing anything.” Still, not all decay is desirable, said Kristin Whalen, 36, a San Francisco senior director of client management and bag obsessive who’s had some of her styles since high school. For her, protruding structural wires and age-induced deformities are nonstarters. Trend analyst Ms. Devlin maintains that, while the optimal degree of destruction is a personal choice, “if it’s not functional and your strap is falling off, it’s time to say goodbye.”

Is inflation driving this so-called “trend”? Recently, the cost of new luxury bags has skyrocketed. According to Jefferies Group, the price of Chanel’s coveted small classic flap bag increased about 60% between 2019 and 2022 in the U.S. Meanwhile, on the RealReal, bags in “fair condition” cost on average 33% less than already-discounted “good condition” options, said Noelle Sciacca, that site’s fashion lead. Lara Osborn, reseller Fashionphile’s vice president of procurement, offers a reality check. “We have to ask ourselves: Is a [worn-in] bag really chic, or is the economy just dictating that we’ll be wearing bags with a lot more love?”

Ms. Joseph Gilchrist insists it’s the former. If your bag’s beat-up, she said, “you just look cooler.”

How to Make A Beautiful Disaster

Is your fancy handbag looking too new? Here, four inadvisable but foolproof ways to pulverise even the sturdiest purse.

1. Toss your pristine purchase in the washing machine—and choose the most punishing spin cycle. For extra distress, add bleach.

2. Give that immaculate purse to your puppy. If he seems uninterested, slather it in peanut butter and present it again.

3. Buy a top-notch bow and arrow and use your bag for target practice. Ignore its faint whimpers each time it’s pierced.

4. Drop it at an osprey breeding site so a hen can use it in her nest. Once the chicks have fledged, retrieve your totally tattered tote.

The Wall Street Journal is not compensated by retailers listed in its articles as outlets for products. Listed retailers frequently are not the sole retail outlets.



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Cocoa and Coffee Prices Have Surged. Climate Change Will Only Take Them Higher.

Some chocolatiers and coffee makers say they will have to pass on the extra cost to consumers

By JOSEPH HOPPE
Sat, Apr 13, 2024 5 min

Global prices for cocoa and coffee are surging as severe weather events hamper production in key regions, raising questions from farm to table over the long-term damage climate change could have on soft commodities.

Cultivating cocoa and coffee requires very specific temperature, water and soil conditions. Now, more frequent heat waves, heavy rainfalls and droughts are damaging harvests and crippling supplies amid ever growing demand from customers worldwide.

“Adverse weather conditions, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, have played an important role in sending several food commodities sharply higher,” said Ole Hansen , head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.

The spikes in prices are a threat to coffee and chocolate makers across the globe.

Swiss consumer-goods giant Nestlé was able to pass only a fraction of the cocoa price increase to customers last year, and it may need to adjust pricing in the future due to persistently high prices, a spokesperson said.

Italian coffee maker Lavazza reported revenue of more than $3 billion for last year, but said profitability was hit by soaring coffee bean prices, particularly for green and Robusta coffee, and its decision to limit price increases.

Likewise, chocolatier Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Spruengli said in its 2023 results that weather and climate conditions played a major role in the global shortage of cocoa beans that led to historically high prices. The company had to lift the sales prices of its products and said it would need to further raise them this year and next if cocoa prices remain at current levels.

Hershey ’s chief executive, Michele Buck , said in February that historic cocoa prices are expected to limit earnings growth this year, and that the company plans to use “every tool in its toolbox,” including price hikes, to manage the impact on business.

In West Africa, where about 70% of global cocoa is produced, powerhouses Ivory Coast and Ghana are facing catastrophic harvests this season as El Niño—the pattern of above-average sea surface temperatures—led to unseasonal heavy rainfalls followed by strong heat waves.

Extreme heat has weakened cocoa trees already damaged from heavy rainfall at the end of last year, according to Morningstar DBRS’s Aarti Magan and Moritz Steinbauer. The rain also worsened road conditions, disrupting cocoa bean deliveries to export ports.

The International Cocoa Organization—a global body composed of cocoa producing and consuming member countries—said in its latest monthly report that it expects the global supply deficit to widen to 374,000 metric tons in the 2023-24 season, from 74,000 tons last season. Global cocoa supply is anticipated to decline by almost 11% to 4.449 million tons when compared with 2022-23.

“Significant declines in production are expected from the top producing countries as they are envisaged to feel the detrimental effect of unfavorable weather conditions and diseases,” the organization said.

While the effects of climate change are severe, other serious structural issues are also hitting West African cocoa production in the short- to medium-term. Illegal mining poses a significant threat to cocoa farms in Ghana, destroying arable land and poisoning water supplies, and the problem is becoming increasingly relevant in the Ivory Coast, according to BMI.

The issues are being magnified by deforestation carried out to increase cocoa production. Since 1950, Ivory Coast has lost around 90% of its forests, while Ghana has lost around 65% over the same period. This has driven farmers to areas less suited to cocoa cultivation like grasslands, increasing the amount of labor required and bringing further downside risks to the harvest, the research firm said.

The Ivory Coast’s cocoa mid-crop harvest—which officially starts in April and runs until September—is expected to fall to 400,000-500,000 tons from 600,000-620,000 tons last year, with weather expected to play a crucial role in shaping the market balance for the season, ING analysts said, citing estimates from the country’s cocoa regulator. Ghana’s cocoa board also forecasts a slump in the harvest for this season to as low as 422,500 tons, the poorest in more than 20 years, according to BMI.

Neither regulator responded to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, extreme droughts in Southeast Asia—particularly in Vietnam and Indonesia—are resulting in lower coffee bean harvests, hurting producers’ output and global exports. Coffee inventories have recovered somewhat in recent weeks but remain low in recent historical terms. Robusta coffee has seen a severe deterioration in export expectations, while Arabica coffee is expected to return to a relatively narrow surplus this year, said Charles Hart, senior commodities analyst at BMI.

The global coffee benchmark prices, London Robusta futures, are up by 15% on-month to $3,825 a ton. Arabica coffee prices have also surged 17% over the last month to $2.16 a pound in lockstep with Robusta—its highest level since October 2022. Cocoa prices have more than tripled on-year over these supply crunch fears, and risen 49% in the last month alone to $10,050 a ton.

“Cocoa trees are particularly sensitive to weather and require very specific conditions to grow, this means that cocoa prices are especially vulnerable to extreme weather events, such as drought and periods of intense heat, as well as the longer-term impact of climate change,” said Lucrezia Cogliati, associate commodities analyst at BMI.

Cogliati said global cocoa consumption is expected to outpace production for the third consecutive season, with intense seasonal West African winds and plant diseases contributing to significant declines.

Consumers hoping for a return to cheaper prices for life’s little luxuries in the midterm may also be in for a bitter surprise.

“There is no sugarcoating it—consumers will ultimately be faced with higher chocolate prices, products that contain less chocolate, and/or shrinking product sizes,” Morningstar’s Magan and Steinbauer said in a report.

“We anticipate consumers could respond by searching widely for promotional discounts, trading down to value-based chocolate and confectionary products from premium products, switching to private-label from branded products and/or reducing volumes altogether.”

The record-breaking rally for cocoa and coffee is likely more than just a flash in the pan, according to Citi analysts, as adverse weather conditions and strong demand trends are likely to support prices in the months ahead. The U.S. bank estimates Arabica coffee futures in a range of $1.88-$2.15 a pound for the current year, but said projections could be lifted if the outlook for 2024-25 tightens further.

At the heart of it all, climate change is set to play a major role, as the impact of extreme weather events could exacerbate the pressure on cocoa and coffee supplies, according to market watchers.

“I don’t expect prices to remain at these levels, but if we continue to see more unusual weather as a result of global warming then we certainly could see more volatility in terms of cocoa yields going forward, which could impact pricing,” said Paul Joules, commodities analyst at Rabobank.

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This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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