Send to

Chanel, Louis Vuitton see muted growth in Korea

April 16, 2024 - 16:44 By Shim Woo-hyun
A Louis Vuitton logo (AFP-Yonhap)

Luxury fashion houses reported a slowdown in sales growth in Korea after years of upbeat sales that peaked during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to recent earnings reports.

“Consumption of expensive luxury products soared over the past few years, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic. But, luxury purchases started to slow down last year as consumer confidence remained low amid economic woes,” an industry source said on the condition of anonymity.

The two largest luxury brands in Korea, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, were unable to avoid the downward trend.

Chanel, the French fashion house, reported 1.7 trillion won ($1.2 billion) in Korean sales last year, up 7 percent from 1.59 trillion won a year ago. Chanel outpaced its French rival Louis Vuitton to become the best-selling luxury brand in Korea. Louis Vuitton Korea posted 1.65 trillion won in sales last year.

But Chanel has suffered a slowdown in sales growth this year. In 2021 and 2022, the brand enjoyed more than 30 percent growth in sales.

Its operating profits also decreased by 34 percent on-year to reach 272 billion won -- a stark contrast to 2021 and 2022 when its profits surged by 66 percent.

In the meantime, Louis Vuitton posted negative growth both in sales and operating profits last year. Its sales decreased 2.4 percent to 1.65 trillion won last year after it posted 40 percent and 15 percent growth in sales in 2021 and 2022.

Its operating profits also plunged 31.4 percent to 286.7 billion won in 2023. In 2021 and 2022, the figures jumped 98 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

Christian Dior, another French luxury brand, reported a 12 percent jump in sales last year, with the figure exceeding the 1-trillion-won mark for the first time. But the growth rate slowed, compared to 51 percent growth in 2022.

Among the top five luxury brands here, Hermes was the only company whose sales and operating profits grew last year. Its sales and operating profits reached 797.2 billion won and 235.7 billion won, respectively, up 22.7 percent and 12 percent.

Celine and Rimowa were also among the few companies that showed rapid growth last year. Celine Korea’s annual sales in 2023 increased by 513 percent to reach 307.2 billion won, up from 50.1 billion in the previous year. Its operating profit also jumped 580 percent on-year to 17 billion won.

Rimowa Korea’s annual sales also increased by 77 percent to 63.5 billion won, from 35.9 billion in 2022. Its operating profit also increased by around 20 percent to 1.5 billion won from 1.2 billion won.

“Sales and profits of luxury accessories brands, such as Rolex, Omega and Bulgari, have also significantly dropped last year,” the source added.