January is a tough month. It’s cold, it’s dark, you have the whole post-holiday letdown thing going on. If you’re a luxury consumer, you also have to deal with the fact that many brands use the post-holiday lull to sneak in a little annual price increase. In the immediate future, Hermes is the price increase you need to worry about, according to shopping site Mizhattan.
Mizhattan is known for getting this kind of sneaky info on price increases, sample sales and other hush-hush Manhattan retail machinations, and her sources indicate that, starting late next week, Hermes customers can expect storewide prices to increase anywhere from 6% to 10%, depending on the product category. Her source indicates that handbags will be the most affected by the higher prices, and we’re taking that to mean that accessories and leather goods will be closer to the 10% end of the increase spectrum.
The full transition to new price levels should be complete by the end of the month, so if you’ve got a purchase in mind, you might want to hightail it to your local Hermes boutique after work tonight. A 10% price increase would mean approximately an extra $1,000 on the price tags of entry-level leather Birkins and 3,800 extra dollars on the crocodile bag that Hermes currently has for sale on its website.
Hermes, of course, is at the tip-top tier of the luxury handbag market; their customers aren’t price-conscious to begin with, and for many, the extreme dollar amounts are a big part of company’s lure of exclusivity. 10% is a pretty hefty lift, but if you’re a company that does a turn-away business with $10,000 handbags, changing the price to $11,000 probably isn’t going to make that big a difference to those who buy them. There’s likely a price tipping point for Hermes out there somewhere, but I’d be surprised if this is it.