For wealthy New Yorkers, inflation protection is in the bag
Oui oui, you can beat inflation!
Shrewd and trendy shoppers are snatching up Chanel bags and purses in hopes of keeping their cash from losing value amidst staggering inflation.
“My husband bought me one when he was on a business trip and he spent about $5,500 on it, and the price today for that same bag is $8,800,” boasted attorney Rebekka Or outside Chanel’s New York flagship store on East 57th Street.
“He bought it three years ago, right before the pandemic,” said the Massachusetts resident, whose husband gifted her another new bag for her 48th birthday while they were in town.
It’s “a nice thing” to see the value of the bags increase, said Or.
A recent report released by Credit Suisse Research Institute, the Swiss banking giant’s thinktank, namechecked the bags as one of the luxe items shoppers should snatch up “amid heightened uncertainty and inflation.”
“We find that Chanel handbags, traditional Chinese works of art, and wristwatches offer the best inflation protection, while fine wines, modern and contemporary art, and American and Latin American art tend to suffer in high-inflation regimes,” the report, issued last month, stated.
The priciest bags by the French fashion house — launched by Coco Chanel in 1910 — are a set of four lambskin minis priced at $28,500.
Tech exec Amber S. shops at Chanel four times a month, buying five bags a year.
“I feel like from a consumer perspective, there are fewer opportunities to buy things that appreciate in the market. And I feel like, for me, it’s Hermes, Chanel and Rolex,” the 34-year-old Upper West Sider said.
Jamey Cook, who travels to the Manhattan boutique from her home in Hoboken and averages one new Chanel bag per year, can also attest to their value as an investment.
“I know one of the bags that I bought in the past has gone up dramatically in price, I was told not too long ago by a Chanel salesperson,” said the 45-year-old former fashion forecaster, who now works in philanthropy. “I bought it in 2017 at $5,000, and she told me it was worth about $10,000 in the fall of 2021. I was quite surprised.”
The city’s luxury resale shops have also witnessed the Chanel frenzy.
Tanya Young Williams opened Central Park Resale on West 66th in October and has already had to create a waitlist for Chanel hopefuls, notifying them when new ones arrive.
“You see people who have been collecting Chanels over the years and they want to know what’s coming in because they’re looking at the investment and hearing about the price creeping up and do they want to go back to Bloomingdale’s and pay $800 more for the same purse, so they’re speaking from a purely economic investment,” she explained.
With a surge in demand comes heightened security risks, said Laurie Perren, who owns Roundabout Resale Couture on Madison Avenue.
“Unfortunately for security reasons most bags are kept off premises in a locked safe. It’s getting dangerous keeping Chanel in-store. It never used to be and they have always been expensive,” she said.
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