MILAN (Reuters) - Gucci has raised the price of handbags by up to 9%, joining rivals Louis Vuitton and Chanel in a bet their brands will still lure the wealthy, a Jefferies report said on Friday, as top luxury brands try to shake off the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The luxury fashion industry, which plays a large role in the economies of Italy and France, has been hard-hit by lockdowns that forced the closure of stores across the globe and could face years of uncertainty as many people's incomes are likely to fall.
Jefferies luxury goods analyst Flavio Cereda compared prices in various countries of two Gucci handbags - the $2,290 Dionysus and the $2,980 Zumi - in May and June and found price increases for both in Italy, Britain and China of between 5% and 9%.
A spokeswoman for Gucci's owner Kering <PRTP.PA> declined to comment.
Analyst Cereda said in a report the price change would narrow the gap between handbag prices in Europe, which are lower than in major luxury markets such as China, where shoppers have queued at stores as they emerged from lockdown.
Still, the price in euros of the Dionysus in China was 28% higher than in Italy after the increase. The gap stood at 23% for the Zumi, Cereda's data found.
"We are unsurprised that Gucci, another brand with strong brand heat, is following suit with opportunistic price increases in an attempt to mitigate revenue contraction," said Cereda, who in May cut his rating on Kering to "hold" from "buy".
Chanel said in May it was increasing prices on its handbags and some small leather goods worldwide to reflect higher raw materials costs because of the supply chain disruption following the coronavirus crisis.
A Reuters review of online prices for handbags by LVMH's <LVMH.PA> star label Louis Vuitton also found increases in Europe and the United States.
(Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; editing by Barbara Lewis)