Why are luxury brands leaving Brazil?

With little fanfare, Italian luxury brand Versace shut down its last Brazilian store, in the upmarket Iguatemi shopping mall in São Paulo’s financial center. After Christmas, the company’s doors never opened again. Versace, however, didn’t make an official announcement, nor did it publish a statement explaining its reasons for leaving Latin America’s largest economy. But it is not difficult to imagine why they did.

Versace’s time in Brazil began in 2014, when it opened stores in several shopping malls in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Fortaleza. This coincided, however, with the beginning of the...

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