Nov 25, 2023
Gucci is once again taking on the scourge of counterfeiting. Through its American subsidiary, Gucci America Inc, the luxury brand under the Kering umbrella filed several complaints with a New York court against prominent American retailers for allegedly marketing and selling counterfeit Gucci products.
“Following a thorough investigation, Gucci confirms legal action against Lord & Taylor, Sam’s Club, Century 21 and Saks Off Fifth for their involvement in marketing and selling counterfeit Gucci products,” the luxury house stated in a brief note provided to us.
“Gucci remains committed to protecting its customers from resellers who benefit from selling counterfeit products,” the company added, confirming reports by the American magazine WWD, which stated that the brand filed three separate complaints against Lord & Taylor, Sam’s Club, and Century 21.
On November 24, the specialized website The Fashion Law detailed the case, noting that in all three complaints, “Gucci claims that its investigators purchased products supposedly carrying the Gucci label from the websites of Lord & Taylor, Sam’s Club, and Century 21, subsequently confirming the products as ‘non-authentic.’”
Established in 1826, Lord & Taylor is the oldest American department store chain. Declared bankrupt in 2020, it was acquired by the Saadia group. Meanwhile, Sam’s West is a members-only retail warehouse chain owned by Walmart. Century 21, known for offering discounted branded clothing, stands as a prominent department store in New York. The involvement of these key players underscores the gravity of Gucci’s allegations in the American fashion market.
Reports from The Fashion Law indicated specific responses from the accused parties. Lord & Taylor’s legal representation admitted awareness of selling counterfeit goods but remained unresponsive to Gucci’s communications. Century 21, despite initially believing the items to be genuine, promised to withdraw them while conducting an internal investigation. Sam’s Club swiftly removed counterfeit stocks from its stores and website and disclosed information about the suppliers involved.
Trademark infringement and unfair competition
According to the website, Gucci “has filed lawsuits for counterfeiting, trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false origin against the accused retailers and a number of other involved entities, seeking injunctions and damages.”
The luxury brand, which recently underwent leadership changes – with Jean-François Palus at the helm and Sabato De Sarno as creative director – is in the midst of a strategic evolution. It is particularly focused on repositioning itself in the high-end segment and has been engaged for over a year in a significant restructuring of its sales network, particularly streamlining its reseller channel. Its products are now primarily marketed through its own boutiques and a select group of authorized retailers. This strategic shift reflects Gucci’s heightened vigilance in safeguarding its brand integrity, particularly against the proliferation of counterfeit products.
In a previous instance in 2021, Gucci had jointly filed a lawsuit with Facebook in California against an individual suspected of using the social media giant’s platforms to sell counterfeit Gucci merchandise.
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