80% discounts on top luxury brands
The Hyundai Department Store next to COEX, southeastern Seoul, was packed with women of all ages pawing through piles of handbags, dresses, shoes and scarves.
“I’ve been here for the last 10 minute but it’s not easy to look through the items with other customers pushing from all sides,” said a housewife in her mid 40s. Despite the discomfort, she said she wasn’t going to miss out on discounts of up to 80 percent on such high-end brands as Michael Kors.
Due to contrasting consumption caused by the economic slowdown, luxury brands are putting aside their pride and pulling out the discounts.
After department stores suffered through negative growth even during last month’s sales season, Lotte, Hyundai and Shinsegae department stores are holding a series of the largest luxury goods inventory sales starting from yesterday. They’re selling merchandise worth 85 billion won ($78 million) before the discounts. Even brands that rarely offer discounts are involved, including Colombo Via Della Spiga.
Shinsegae’s sale goes through Sunday.
“We were surprised the luxury brands accepted our proposal for the sale without resistance,” said a Shinsegae spokesman. “Realizing that it might hurt their pride, we suggested they hold such a sale because of the stagnant economy.”
Sales of luxury goods at Shinsegae only grew 6.4 percent last year compared to 23.3 percent in 2011, and during the sales period last month, sales actually dropped 11.3 percent.
Shinsegae is selling goods from 50 brands worth 30 billion won before the discounts.
Lotte Department Store is holding its largest luxury goods sale. Its main store it is selling 40 billion won worth of goods from 75 luxury brands from Feb. 22 until Feb. 24.
The brands include Jimmy Choo, Italy’s Brunello Cucinelli, Colombo Via Della Spiga, IRIS, La Collection, luxury down jacket brand Peuterey and Pyrenex.
“To alleviate the burden of an inventory in the economic recession, the luxury brands, which were hesitant to participate in sales last year, actively expressed their intention to participate,” said a spokesman for Lotte.
The discounts also rose to 80 percent from 30 to 70 percent last year. Bally and Kate Spade, which usually offer discounts of 30 to 50 percent, are going up to 70 percent this year.
Hyundai Department Store in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, is also selling 15 billion won worth of 30 luxury brands including Jill Sander, Mulberry and Neil Barrett from today through Sunday. Its sale is 50 percent bigger than last year.
By Lee Ho-jeong, Koo Hee-reyong [email@example.com]