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Gucci’s Luster Fades in Tough Luxury Climate

Over the past few years, Helen Nonini, a 35-year-old executive in Milan, has sold off most of her once-beloved Gucci handbags and accessories. She even got rid of a roomy Gucci travel satchel she received as a gift.

“I just don’t want to be categorized,” says Ms. Nonini. “I don’t want someone in the street to look at me and know right away who designed the bag I’m carrying or how much I paid for it.” Lately she has been favoring other big-ticket, albeit logo-less, labels like Bottega Veneta.

Winning back customers like Ms. Nonini—many of whom are unexcited by the luxury brands that provided a thrill for so long—is an uphill battle for Gucci, whose red-hot growth has sputtered.

On Thursday, Gucci’s parent, Kering SA, said third-quarter sales for the brand declined 1.6% compared with the same period a year ago. Overall sales at the luxury conglomerate rose by 3.3%, to €2.6 billion ($3.29 billion).

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