Vuitton gets closer to runway
Luxury brand Louis Vuitton reached a belated milestone last weekend with the opening of its first airport store. At more than 500 square metres, the retail space at Incheon International Airport in South Korea is larger than most luxury retail outlets at airport hubs.
'Travel has to be a pleasure again,' Yves Carcelle, Louis Vuitton's chairman and CEO, said at the opening on Saturday (which coincided with Chuseok, the national holiday). To do this, said Carcelle, the store's design team created a product-free mini-entrance with a large-scale photograph by Steve McCurry. More like a stand-alone boutique than an airport outlet, men's leather goods and accessories are to the left and bags, jewellery and other goods are to the right.
Striking a balance between full-service luxury shopping and catering to time-pressed travellers might be challenging. But the store has more than 100 employees. 'It's also a selling machine,' Carcelle said.
South Korea is the brand's fourth-largest market and, with more than 40 direct flights from Incheon to cities around China, it's also in a prime spot for catching mainland traffic.
The Incheon deal took about three years and the company doesn't have any other airport deals in the works now, said Carcelle. But LV's first ambitious foray suggests it won't be the last.