Handbag sellers slash lineups as luxury demand wanes
The handbag industry, rocked by slowing departmenttraffic and a shift away from purses by millennials, has anewmantra this holiday season: Do more with less.
Luxury retailers such as Nordstrom Inc, Bloomingdale’s and Barneys New York are introducing far fewer styles of handbags this year as the critical Christmas season approaches.
And the pressure on the industry has fueled speculation that companies like Coach Inc and Michael Kors Holdings Ltd should find merger partners rather than fighting it out alone.
Retailers are increasingly opting to differentiate themselves from competitors by introducing fewer new lines rather than swamping shoppers with too many choices, said Katie Smith, senior fashion analyst at Edited, a dataanalytics company for the fashion industry.
In the three months through Aug 31, the number of new handbags introduced by Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s fell 23 percent and 3 percent, respectively, compared with an increase of 5 percent and 11 percent the year before, according to Edited, whose clients include Ralph Lauren Corp and luxury e-tailer NetA-Porter.
Coach, Michael Kors and Kate Spade & Co are cutting back on sales to department stores, trying to avoid the record promotions that have hurt their brand cachet. When luxury retailers begin releasing their earnings on Tuesday, attention will be focused on how successful they’ve been in curbing discounting and coping with waning handbag demand.
Customers shop in a Nordstrom Inc store in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.