SEOUL, March 22 (Korea Bizwire) — Luxury fashion brands including Louis Vuitton and Hermès have continued to jack up the prices of their products in South Korea, raising eyebrows among consumers.
According to industry sources on Wednesday, some Louis Vuitton items have seen price hikes at duty free shops this month, following earlier price increases late last month.
The luxury fashion brand has raised prices a total of three times within the last four months, leading to criticism that the company is announcing sudden price increases just before wedding season to exploit South Korean customers.
Prices are also rising at a higher rate than before, with flagship products such as Monogram Neonoe bags rising in price by an average of 5 percent last month.
The Monogram Neonoe bags were priced at 1.67 million won last November, before rising to 1.75 million and 1.92 million last month.
The biggest price jump was with the Cluny BB Monogram Canvas, with its price tag going from 2.24 million won to 2.38 million won.
Despite criticism, the South Korean unit of Louis Vuitton says a different company is behind the sale of Louis Vuitton products at duty free shops in South Korea.
“Bluebell Korea, which is the official distributor for LVMH in South Korea, seems to be behind the price rises at duty free shops,” the company said.
Louis Vuitton also faced criticism last month after announcing significant price hikes only three months after earlier increases, with some products going up in price by over 10 percent.
Other luxury brands such as Hermès and Chanel are quietly following suit.
Hermès, which usually raises prices at the beginning of the year, announced a price increase for some items in January, while Chanel’s product prices rose three times during last year alone – in May, September, and November.
Last November, the price for Chanel’s signature Coco Handle Bag with Lizard Handle jumped by 29 percent, from 4.76 million won to 6.15 million won, alongside dozens of other products that were subject to price increases.
“Luxury brands make small changes to their product lineups and raise prices as part of their global policy. Unlike other brands, luxury brands have the upper hand over even major retailers, which have little to no leverage over price negotiations,” a source close to the retail industry said.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)