Hermes holds first sale in China as frugality drive bites

A Hermes outlet at Beijing Capital International Airport.

Fashion house Hermes broke its in-house rule on Tuesday when it held a discount sale for the first time in China. Other luxury brands may follow their lead as the government’s anti-corruption frugality campaign has dealt a heft blow to their sales, leaving them with excess inventory, reports our Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily.

The rule of no sales and of not selling at shopping malls went out the window when Hermes held a sale at the Hyatt Regency Hangzhou in eastern China to clear unsold stock accumulated over the past two to three years. Most of the items available were men and women’s clothes and shoes, which carried discounts of 20%-50%.

Other brands including Ferragamo, Boss and Armani look set to follow suit with discount sales near their own outlets at department stores in mid-May, including last year’s collections.

A senior executive at a department store in Hangzhou said luxury brands have been struggling this year as plunging sales have pushed up their inventory. The brands would rather lose face than lose their business, the executive said.

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