Welcome to the first Louis Vuitton store in Poland: “Open your bag, please”

The 47-year-old, who switched to luxury handbags after 17 years selling coffee at Nestlé, traveled to Poland six times before finding the perfect location for the 270-square-meter store. Louis Vuitton.

Before settling in the high-end Vitkac department store in one of Warsaw‘s busiest shopping districts, the French luxury goods maker analyzed foot traffic in different corners of the city, observed the habits of purchase and visited the stores of its competitors. “In retail, you have to experience everything for yourself,” says Eggs. “Observation is the best method, but it takes time.”

The brand also asked Polish customers of Louis Vuitton stores in Munich, Berlin, London and Paris about the planned location of the future store in Warsaw and got very good reactions. “That was the final confirmation for us,” says Eggs.

Louis Vuitton is the flagship brand of the French conglomerate LVMH, which also owns luxury brands such as Bulgari, Givenchy and Dom Pérignon. According to the sell-side research firm Sanford Bernstein, Vuitton handbags generate half of LVMH’s operating profit, and a turnover of 7.4 billion euros per year. This is seven times more than the total annual expenditure of Poles on luxury goods (excluding cars), according to KPMG.

Nevertheless, the Polish luxury market grew by 50% between 2000 and 2010, growing much faster than the global luxury market, which is currently worth 210 billion euros.

“The Polish market has seen a solid rise, but that’s not the only thing we’re looking at,” says Eggs. “The demand and the potential are also big for us, and the latter is quite big in Poland. Around 30% of luxury brands are still not available here.

No discounts, no sales

Eggs doesn’t like to talk about prices, although he reveals that the cheapest thing in the Warsaw shop is a calendar refill – 149 zlotys (35 euros). The lowest price for a bag is 2,100 zlotys (492 euros), while the most expensive piece of the exotic series – in python, ostrich or crocodile leather – sells for more than 85,000 zlotys (19,920 euros).

When I ask how many of these bags they hope to sell, he replies, “2,700 BMW cars were sold last year in Poland. This is a lot considering the price of these cars which is 50,000 euros.

“Fifty thousand euros for a car is not the same as 20,000 for a handbag”, I specify.

“Ask the women. Many would prefer the bag,” he replies.

“A shopper often behaves irrationally, so there’s no way of knowing who will buy what in the Warsaw store,” says Eggs. “I once visited our store in southern Italy. There was a young boy, 16 at the most, who came to buy a leather belt for his mother. The few hundred euros that he paid was mostly in cash – he had saved When you witness this kind of situation, you understand that age, education or income are not the most important factors for our brand,” he says. .

The label is strong enough to have a very simple sales strategy: no sales, no discounts and no points of sale. The products are only available in Luis Vuitton stores. Although I can swear I saw a Luis Vuitton boutique in the British luxury brands outlet in Bicester Village, near Oxford.

“That’s not possible,” says Eggs.

“But I was there a few months ago and saw it with my own eyes,” I insist.

“We’re not there yet,” he said.

Smirking, I check the outlet’s website and realize I need to wipe the smile off my face: there are Burberry, Fendi, Furla, Kate Spade and Prada stores but no trace of Luis Vuitton.

Louis Vuitton does not negotiate and the brand insists that its employees know why. Salespeople are invited to take part in workshops organized at the company’s six French sites, so that they can see how much the creative process is taken to heart.

“Aren’t you staying for the press conference?” asks Eggs. “It’s a shame because you will miss a flute of excellent champagne.”

As I walk towards the exit, a man in a suit and with short hair suddenly stops me. “Open the bag, please,” he orders. I can not believe it. I still have the words about the prestige of the brand ringing in my ears. The security guard should repeat, “Open the bag, please.”

Do they intend to treat their wealthy clients this way, or is it just a special bonus for special clients and the press on opening day? “There are a lot of people inside the store today – the finishing touches are still in progress – which is why everyone is being searched,” says Louis Vuitton public relations consultant Magdalena Bulera-Payne. “I have been undergoing this procedure myself for a few days, but rest assured that it will not become a habit and our clients will not be searched like this.”

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