Good news for the ultra-rich: Chanel is working to open private boutiques for its VICs (Very Important Clients).
"Our biggest preoccupation is to protect our customers and in particular our pre-existing customers," CFO Philippe Blondiaux told Business of Fashion. "We’re going to invest in very protected boutiques to service clients in a very exclusive way."
(What, exactly, do Blondiaux and Chanel want to "protect" its customers from? The upper-middle class?)
Chanel reportedly operates 250 stores (excluding its beauty-exclusive outposts), roughly half the brick-and-mortar presence of comparable brands, such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci. As Chanel's sales continue to surge (in 2021, revenue increased 50 percent year-on-year), its limited number of storefronts have become congested with lines of customers itching to get their hands on accessories, beauty, and fashion.
As anyone who lives in a major city knows, designer stores aren't just for big spenders — they're also frequented by tourists, onlookers, and casual shoppers with no intention of opening their wallets. By introducing private boutiques, Chanel appears to be separating the spenders from the browsers (the proverbial wheat from the chaff?).
In all fairness, private boutiques are a surefire way to help bolster Chanel's position among competing luxury brands, such as Hermès. In fact, the move is totally in line with Chanel's recent moves, which include repeatedly raising prices on handbags and introducing a purchase limit for its most popular items (don't forget that $825 advent calendar, too).
Chanel will reportedly begin opening private boutiques in Asia beginning in 2023. In the meantime, get spending!