Louis Vuitton-sales drop

SEOUL, March 25 (Yonhap) -- Louis Vuitton, the French maker of luxury handbags, saw its sales in the local market fall at a double-digit rate last year due to the prolonged economic downturn, industry sources said Monday.

According to the sources, Louis Vuitton, which was named the world's most valuable luxury brand last year, faced a double-digit sales drop for the first time since 1991 when it entered the South Korean luxury goods market.

"Sales of Louis Vuitton started falling in April last year," an industry source said, adding it is continuing its double-digit sales drop this year.

"Louis Vuitton's sales fell more than 20 percent last year," another source said. "The whopping sales drop means the collapse of the myth that sales of Louis Vuitton are not influenced by an economic downturn (in South Korea)."

Along with the economic slump, a change in local consumers' propensity for luxury goods led to the sales drop in Louis Vuitton, the sources said.

In recent years, a rise in the number of imported luxury brands has prompted local consumers to turn away from the French luxury brand, they said.

Another reason for the drop in sales of Louis Vuitton was a fall in the number of Japanese visitors to South Korea due to the Japanese yen's depreciation against the Korean won, the sources said.

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