Some critics say the luxury fashion brands are capitalizing on the relaxation in social distancing restrictions.
French luxury brand Chanel confirmed yesterday its decision to increase prices on its “iconic handbags” and some small leather goods. Other brands such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co, and Bulgari have reportedly followed suit.
The prices for Chanel’s 11.12 and 2.55 handbags, the Boy Bag, the Gabrielle Bag, the Chanel 19 Bag, and other small leather accessories will increase by between 5% and 17%. The bags already retail for several thousand Euros.
Chanel raised prices in France on Monday, May 11, according to the South China Morning Post, and other markets are set to follow. SCMP reported today that shoppers in countries such as China and South Korea are rushing to purchase items at their original prices before the changes reach their local markets.
The brand said on May 13 the decision comes amid a rise in the cost of raw materials due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These [price] adjustments are made while ensuring that we avoid excessive price differentials between countries, in line with our commitments regarding price harmonization,” a Chanel representative told Reuters.
“In these challenging times for our manufacturers and suppliers, it is essential for Chanel to continue to support them in the best possible way,” the luxury house explained in another statement.
In South Korea, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co have also hiked prices up by 11%, Pulse News Korea reported, citing industry sources.
According to the report, Louis Vuitton hiked prices in Korean markets by 5% to 6% on average for some bags, garments, and accessories, and the biggest hike was 10%.
Tiffany & Co and Bulgari have also raised prices, the report continued, but did not specify which products are impacted.
Like Chanel, the brands explained the price increases as a result of company pricing policies adjusting to exchange rate fluctuations and raw material costs.
However, critics say the luxury fashion brands are capitalizing on relaxations in social distancing restrictions and looking to make gains from restless consumers finally able to shop again, and take advantage of those who may be more prone to lavish spending after weeks of inactivity and isolation.