BoF’s luxury editor Robert Williams offers insight into the surprising news that the mega-label plans to open stores dedicated to serving top customers.
As traffic to stores soars, Chanel’s chief financial officer Philippe Blondiaux said the brand plans to open dedicated boutiques for top-spending clients starting in key Asian cities. It's a strategy that emphasises the importance of big-spenders to the in-demand French luxury brand’s future amid whispers of an impending recession — but one that risks alienating first time and occasional shoppers who are still dropping upwards of $10,000 for bags.
“Brands like Chanel, they’ve lived through lots of cycles of boom and bust in the economy… When there’s an economic crisis, they need to be ready to have a real focus on repeat business,” said BoF’s luxury editor Robert Williams.
Chanel sells many items in-store only, and limits locations to the most luxurious places in the world’s most luxury cities — operating just around 250 stores compared with Louis Vuitton’s over 400 doors. Chanel is not the first brand to open special stores for private clients; Brunello Cucinelli deployed a similar concept last December. Other brands like Zegna have dedicated spaces in-store for special items. In 2021, the company’s profits have tripled and revenue jumped 50 percent year over year. The brand’s growth in fashion, watches and jewellery last year was driven by its decision to raise prices and a flood of new clients and first-time buyers to luxury. In addition to focusing on its physical footprint, Chanel is pushing its beauty business, which has been historically driven by department stores and beauty retailers like Sephora and Marionnaud, toward majority direct-to-consumer.
Chanel to Open Private Stores for Top Clients as Sales Soar 50% How Luxury Brands Court the 1 Percent
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Hello Lauren Sherman here, we are interrupting our regularly scheduled programming today to share some news. After ten years of writing for BoF I am moving on to pursue some new projects and that means, sadly, that I no longer be hosting the debrief. It's been an absolute pleasure recording this...
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