Earlier this week, luxury brands Chanel and Tag Heuer became the latest labels to tweak their pricing—changes they attributed to currency fluctuations. On Tuesday, Chanel said because of the depreciating euro, it will raise prices in Europe and trim them in Asia, to "offer our products to all of our customers at a harmonized price."
Hours later Tag Heuer announced that because of the Swiss franc's appreciation, it would keep prices flat in the euro zone, Japan and Singapore, but lower them in places including the United States, South America and the U.K.
"This will be an effective way to preserve and develop the quality and uniqueness of Chanel customers' experience in the boutiques," the company said. "It is also intended to fight against the parallel resale markets, which benefit from current price differentials and jeopardize the business, the image and the exclusivity of Chanel."
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Hana Ben-Shabat, a partner in the retail practice of A.T. Kearney, agreed that Chanel's move will likely cut back on the gray market—a term that includes people who buy products in bulk in a cheaper geography, and then resell them for a higher price.
But because higher prices in the U.S. and China are nothing new, the move could be designed more as a means to kickstart sales in China, where the recent slowdown in luxury spending may have been the tipping point.
"Things are so expensive and you don't have gifting anymore, [so] reducing the prices in China makes sense if you want to re-energize the market," Ben-Shabat said.