, SHANGHAI, Mar 20- Chinese shoppers are mobbing Chanel stores and counting their savings after the French fashion house slashed handbag prices in the world’s biggest luxury market due to the slumping euro.
Long lines formed at Chanel stores in commercial hub Shanghai and shopping mecca Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, this week as word spread of deep discounts, according to media reports.
China is widely considered the world’s biggest luxury market as a rising middle class and corrupt officials drive a shopping frenzy, but domestic prices are high due to hefty import taxes and huge retail mark-ups.
At one branch of Chanel in Shanghai, dozens waited anxiously in line for their turn, fearing the shelves might be stripped bare before a shop assistant could escort each person one by one into the tightly guarded store.
Miao Sijia, a well dressed woman in her 20s who said she does not work, rushed 50 kilometres from a nearby city to buy a limited edition, gold coloured 2.55 bag for a discounted 19,700 yuan ($3,200).
“I rushed from Kunshan to buy a Chanel bag after a store clerk told me they were making a special price adjustment,” Miao, a VIP customer of the store, told AFP.
Chanel said it was harmonising the prices of its products around the world, including the 2.55, 11.12 and Boy bag collections, but did not specify the size of the discounts in China, or price rises in the eurozone.
According to China-based luxury publisher the Hurun Report, Chanel is considered the second best brand for gifting to women, behind Apple but ahead of French fashion compatriot Louis Vuitton.
White collar worker Wang Lei, also in her 20s, gave up 5,500 yuan ($894) of her salary to buy a Cambon purse but marvelled at the 21 percent discount. “It was almost 7,000 yuan ($1,138) before,” she told AFP.