Neither price increases nor inflation can keep Chanel from notching some pretty impressive sales figures.
In 2021, the French fashion house recorded $15.6 billion in sales, according to figures it shared with Business of Fashion. That number is a 50 percent increase over its 2020 sales, and a 23 percent increase over 2019, putting last year solidly above the brand’s pre-pandemic performance.
It reached this high mark despite spending $1.8 billion on marketing in 2021, increasing inflation and the pandemic’s longstanding drain on travel-related spending. (Chanel’s best performing products are clothing, jewelry and watches, and its fragrance and beauty divisions have taken something of a hit.) The company’s chief financial officer Patrick Blondiaux credited the growth to a “balanced” mix of price increases and higher volumes. The company raised its prices three times in 2021 and once again earlier this year, crediting the hikes to the increasing costs of materials and labor. In March, Reuters reported that some of Chanel’s signature products cost up to twice the amount they’d have set you back before the pandemic.
But in spite of these changes, one thing will remain the same: Chanel’s policy that customers who want to buy its clothing, jewels or timepieces buy them in a physical retail environment.
“We are not, and will not, sell fashion or watches online,” Blondiaux said, though he acknowledged that digital platforms play “a key role in customer interaction. We are making a lot of investments in digital tools to connect with consumers and offer services online.” Those tools will include options for booking in-store appointments, virtual try-ons and after-sales services. In the meantime, the brand claims to be focused on boosting customer service by hiring 3,500 new employees for its global boutiques.
And given how well it’s doing, the company certainly can afford all the new headcounts.