The coronavirus situation in Korea is not getting any better, with more cases recorded over the weekend; but amazingly, this has not kept people from shopping for luxury goods. Last weekend, customers wearing face masks queued in front of almost every luxury brands.
outlet, including Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Cartier, at Times Square in the Yeongdeung District of western Seoul.
A saleswoman said they were not allowing people in who weren't wearing face masks and everyone was instructed to sanitise their hands upon entering the department stores. While shoppers have avoided going to most department stores, for fear of contracting the virus, with many closing down temporarily, causing a 15% slump in sales, this has not been the case for high-end stores.
Lotte Department Store's general sales decreased last month by 22% compared to last year, but sales of luxury goods increased 6%. Galleria Department Store's sales in February fell 4% compared to that from a year ago, but luxury brands managed a 17% increase.
"People have a purchase plan for luxury goods and they don't often buy them impulsively, and so this frees us from the coronavirus effect. As they are little affected by external factors, sales of luxury goods will continue to grow," said a department store official.
The mini-boom is seeing brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Prada take questionable steps in the domestic market, with price increases rising by as much as 13%, with more markups expected in the near future.
According to a 2017 BNP Paribas report, luxury goods cost more in Korea, which noted that they are the second most expensive worldwide after China.