Luxury brands reap rewards of FTAMany European luxury brands have seen sales in Korea spike since the country implemented a free trade deal with the European Union to ease tariffs, industry sources said yesterday.
The Korea-EU FTA, which took effect in July, calls for the elimination or phasing out of tariffs on most Korean and European goods, including fashion items, within three years.
Korea’s top-selling designer brand, owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, sold 91.2 billion won ($82.7 million) worth of goods between July 1 and Sept. 14, according to the sources quoted by Yonhap News Agency.
During the same period, French brand Chanel posted sales of 44 billion won, up 14.6 percent, while Hermes’ rose 11.4 percent to 15.6 billion won, the sources said.
“The spike in sales of high fashion goods from France is due to the Korea-EU FTA that led the European brands to lower prices,” said Shin Jae-jin, a designer for North Face.
However the same surge was not seen across the spectrum, with PPP’s Gucci brand seeing a dip of 1.9 percent on sales of 36.4 billion won, the Yonhap sources added.
“Now more people think they can buy luxury goods at more affordable prices, even though the price cuts aren’t that big,” Shin said.
Hermes, a French fashion house, lowered the price of its bags and clothes by an average of 5.6 percent, while Chanel imposed a 5 percent price cut after the FTA took effect.
However some critics have cast doubt on the role of the FTA in rising sales as they were already on a growth cycle before it took effect.
Some also see designer goods as more or less recession-proof given their elitist appeal.
Louis Vuitton registered 242.4 billion won in sales in Korea in the first six months of 2011, up 31.2 percent from the same period last year, while Chanel’s first half sales soared 54.8 percent to 130 billion won.
Additionally, Auction, the nation’s second-largest online retailer after G-market, said yesterday it will officially launch an “Auction family sale” on Sept. 26. This will be especially for limited items of popular fashion and beauty brands. The company promises discounts of 15 to 50 percent to lure shoppers.
“We created this based on the concept of family sales, which are hosted every year by fashion and cosmetic companies to give their employees and invited guests branded goods at cut-rate prices,” said Seo Tae-mi, a marketing official at Auction.
Seo said Auction’s family sale will offer new items each week and should enhance customer loyalty by conferring a sense of privileged status on buyers, as they feel they are receiving special treatment.
The company will begin by offering five vintage Chanel “2.55” bags for 3.78 million won each. This represents a 38 percent discount from the current price and matches their retail price of three years ago.
“We chose [these] as the first item because they are among the most popular bags for Korean women,” Seo said.
Auction will also offer 32 pairs of Tory Burch flat shoes at 248,000 won a pair, down 29 percent, from Sep. 26 to 28. Special Victoria Secret sweatpants will also be going cheap from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3.
Some coveted cosmetics, such as Kiehl’s ultra facial creams (50 milliliter), will be going for almost half price on the site at 15,900 won each.
By Kim Mi-ju, Yonhap [email@example.com]
한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
한·EU FTA 한 달 … 명품들 더 신났다
루이뷔통·샤넬 등 빅5, 작년보다 매출 17% 늘어
한·유럽연합 자유무역협정(FTA) 발효 후 불거졌던 가격 논란에도 유럽의 명품 브랜드는 날개 돋친 듯 팔렸다. 15일 유통업계에 따르면 루이뷔통과 샤넬·구찌·프라다·에르메스 등 5개 주요 명품 브랜드는 한·EU FTA가 발효된 7월 한 달간 롯데·현대·신세계·갤러리아백화점에서 지난해 같은 기간에 비해 17% 매출이 늘었다. 3대 명품 브랜드로 꼽히는 루이뷔통·샤넬·에르메스의 매출은 561억원으로 지난해 같은 기간에 비해 평균 13.5% 매출이 성장했다.
가장 매출이 많은 루이뷔통은 297억원에서 327억원으로 10.1％ 성장했고, 샤넬은 147억원에서 176억원으로 19.7％, 에르메스는 50억원에서 58억원으로 16％ 매출이 늘었다. 이들 3대 브랜드 국내 판매량의 90%가량이 롯데 등 4개 주요 백화점에서 팔린다.
성장률을 보면 프라다가 제일 선전했다. 지난해 7월에 비해 66.7％나 늘어난 90억원의 매출을 올렸다. 구찌 역시 실적이 9% 늘었다.
이들 브랜드는 FTA 발효를 앞두고 가격을 크게 올린 후 FTA 발효 직후 관세 절감 부분만큼 가격을 소폭 인하해 ‘생색내기’라는 비난을 사기도 했다. 하지만 이런 가격 논란에도 매출은 늘었던 것이다. 소비자들은 가격이 어떻건 이들 브랜드를 꾸준히 샀다는 뜻이다. 한 업계 관계자는 “FTA로 인해 가격이 내려간 상품이 시중에 풀리는 데 시간이 걸리는 만큼 7월 매출은 실제 수요보다 억제된 것으로 봐야 한다. 앞으로 더 큰 폭으로 매출이 늘어날 수 있다”고 말했다.
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