The Chanel bag that you have been eyeing may now cost nearly $1,000 less at its Singapore boutiques, after the French luxury label announced on Monday a move to standardise the prices of its products worldwide.
For a start, it is aligning the prices of three signature bags, each of which will become almost $1,000 cheaper in Singapore.
Officially, the price change will kick in on April 8 globally. But Chanel's two boutiques here at Marina Bay Sands and Ngee Ann City have already lowered the prices from Tuesday to benefit customers immediately, Chanel told The Straits Times in a statement.
The medium 2.55 and medium 11.12 flap bags now cost $6,600 each, down from $7,550. The price of a medium Boy Chanel has been lowered from $6,580 to $5,820. Customers who bought any of the three bags between March 3 and 16, before the price adjustment, will get a credit note that allows them to offset the difference on their next purchase.
Chanel said the move will reduce price differentials across countries, which have "widened considerably" due to the euro's depreciation.
It is also meant to fight against parallel resale markets, "which jeopardise the business, the image and the exclusivity of Chanel", it added.
Yesterday, one Singapore dollar could buy €0.68, compared with €0.57 a year ago.
Before the price adjustment, shoppers from Singapore pay about 40 per cent less if they buy the bags in Paris.
But from April 8, the price of the three bags will go up by 20 per cent in Europe. A medium 2.55 will cost €4,260 (S$6,290), up from €3,550 - only about 5 per cent cheaper than in Singapore.
Chanel aims to standardise the prices of all its other products, including wallets, shoes and clothing, by the end of this year.
Its president, Mr Bruno Pavlovsky, told industry journal Women's Wear Daily that the cost of its products worldwide will never be more than 10 per cent above or below the prices in the euro zone.
The Straits Times asked several other major luxury brands if they have similar plans to standardise their prices, but they were unable to respond by press time.
The "harmonisation" of prices is expected to deal a blow to parallel importers, who would buy the bags in Europe and resell them in their home country.
The Attic Place, a shop at Far East Shopping Centre which sells pre-owned and brand new luxury goods including Chanel bags, said it expects the lower prices to draw shoppers to the local Chanel boutiques. "Regardless, we will continue to offer limited-edition and vintage pieces which collectors covet," said the shop's spokesman.
Tax consultant Cynthia Teo, 25, who is looking to buy a Boy Chanel, said she is "more encouraged" to buy it in Singapore, now that the price has been revised.
Singapore Polytechnic senior retail lecturer Sarah Lim called the move "a good idea".
The feeling that people can purchase the bag more cheaply in Europe hurts Chanel's positioning as a brand-name product, she said.
This article was first published on March 22, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.