Louis Vuitton's pricey new Capucines leather handbags are selling out in European fashion capitals, store managers said, signaling the world's biggest luxury brand could be regaining some of its lost sparkle. The news implies Louis Vuitton's efforts to strengthen its offering of expensive leather bags to reposition itself as more upmarket and exclusive - as did Gucci recently - is starting to yield positive results.
A Reuters survey of Louis Vuitton shops in Milan, Paris and London revealed shortages of the $4,600 Capucines bags (which have been spotted on the arms of A-listers such as Angelina Jolie) since their launch in June, with long waiting lists. On New Bond Street in London, there was only one sample bag with a "not for sale" sticker on it and 40 people had already reserved one but assistants said the bags were likely to be available only at the end of September or early in October.
Bernard Arnault, the boss of parent company LVMH, said in January that Louis Vuitton planned to prune its portfolio of canvas bags, which make up two thirds of its business and generate gross margins of 90 percent. Shop assistants said they took delivery of only a handful of Capucines bags every other week over the summer, intimating Louis Vuitton may have deliberately caused the shortage to create a buzz around the product - taking a leaf out of Hermes' book.