Arnault of LVMH partners with Google Cloud on AI project

The system will mine trillions of pieces of personal data gathered by the internet behemoth to enhance LVMH’s ability to manage functions from demand forecasting to personalising offers for clients. It includes the launch of a ‘Data and AI Academy’ to share expertise. LVMH will draw on the partnership to update its IT infrastructure with a view to “fostering the agility, security, cost efficiency and performance at scale required to support its business ambitions,” according to the statement.

Billionaire entrepreneur, investor and art collector Arnault, who now ranks as the world’s richest man, aims to put LVMH at the forefront of the changing world of luxury commerce opening up in the post coronavirus world. All companies say they monitor developing trends and drinks leaders such as Diageo and Pernod Ricard have derived competitive advantages from e-commerce and its associated market information, but Arnault’s latest move will give LVMH a treasure trove of data on which to plan its strategies.

The partnership gives Arnault similar advantages to those of Jeff Bezos, the head of Amazon, whose empire has been built on information and automation. And it is Bezos who Arnault has just toppled from the summit of the world’s wealth league table, according to Fortune.

At the start of the pandemic LVMH’s shares slumped, cutting Arnault’s wealth to well below US$100 billion. But since the start of this year, they have soared by more than 30%, catapulting Arnault, who owns 47.5% of the group, to wealth estimated at US$196.8 billion — beating Bezos to become the richest person in the world. As their company share prices fluctuated over the past few weeks Bezos and Arnault have been head-to-head in the wealth league table but last week Arnault’s entire family net worth put him a US$1.5 billion above Bezos.

By comparison Ukranian-born industrialist Sir Leonard Blavatnik, who heads this year’s Sunday Times Rich List, is sitting on a mere £23 billion (US$32 billion) While much of the travel retail market on which luxury goods thrive has been shut for the past 16 months, those at the spending pinnacle supplied by the galaxy of houses owned by LVMH have not stopped buying, notably in its 5,000 stores worldwide.

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