'Bling' is back here– at least for some - as sales of Louis Vuitton luxury goods here last year soared by 35% to €10.8m, writes Gordon Deegan.
Louis Vuitton is the world’s most valuable luxury brand and new accounts for the Irish business of Louis Vuitton show that its pre-tax profits here last year almost doubled going from €1.7m to €3m.
This on the back of a sales surge of its expensive hand-bags and other sought after branded items.
Customers to the only Louis Vuitton outlet in Ireland at Dublin’s Brown Thomas store can splurge up to around €34,000 for the most expensive hand bag in the brand’s prized City Steamer range.
The cheapest bag in the range comes in at around €2,540.
Since the start of 2014 to the end of last year, sales of Louis Vuitton goods have more than doubled going from €5.3m to €10.8m as the economy has rebounded.
The brand - endorsed by Bono and Angelina Jolie - also here sells watches, accessories, watches, jewellery, shoes and ready to wear clothes.
Louis Vuitton is part of the multi-billion stockmarket-listed LVMH Moet Hennessy luxury brands company and its brands also include Dior, Givenchy and Moet & Chandon in its extensive luxury goods portfolio.
The accounts for the Irish company show that the surge in sales has allowed it this year to pay over a dividend of €2.63m to its owners and this followed a dividend payout of €1.55m in 2016.
Louis Vuitton opened its store at Brown Thomas in Dublin in 1999 and it is not the only luxury brand enjoying great business here right now.
Last year, sales at Swarovski Ireland jumped by €1m from €3.9m to €4.9m and the directors credit a particularly strong performance at the company’s outlet store in the Kildare Village as contributing to the sale growth.
MANDATE members are employed selling such high end goods in the retail sector here and Asst General Secretary of MANDATE, Gerry Light said yesterday: “I can’t understand how someone can go in to the likes of Brown Thomas and spend thousands of euro on a handbag after passing probably half a dozen homeless people on the street.”
He said: “I can’t understand how people can justify such a purchase to themselves, but that is their own business. How they do it, I don’t know.”
Asked to comment on the large increase in sales at Louis Vuitton here, Mr Light said: “It is remarkable that there are such levels of disposable income when there are such levels of social deprivation in our society.”