Purses are my Achilles heel. When I retired I was given an exquisite designer purse by my employer which made me far happier than any gold watch ever could have. It is therefore with a great deal of interest that I’ve been following the stock market duke-out between major purse purveyors Coach and Michael Kors. And, ironically it was my husband who brought it to my attention.
Last week I went into a Coach store to purchase a new 2015 refill for the Coach daytimer I bought at their outlet store about ten years ago. Yes. I know I should be doing my time management on an iPhone but I’m just too backward to move forward. While I was in the store I commented to the sales associate that I really liked their new look. No longer emblazoned with their distinctive logo, the cleaner designs better showcase the colourful leathers and styles. Who wants to be a walking advertisement. And this from someone whose retirement purse is awash in the designer’s logo. Anyway, I was then told that the former designer for high-end Mulberry has moved to Coach and is responsible for the new look. Two doors further along in the mall is the Michael Kors store with handbags and accessories in a similar price range and quality but with a few items of clothing and an extensive collection of shoes and boots to up the ante.
Let’s face it Boomer broads. We love purses, shoes and accessories but the marketing of many brands is getting totally out of hand and we only have so much money to throw at them. Much as we would love to have enough money to purchase each season’s newest look, it ain’t gonna happen. And with only a fifteen percent return on the original retail price at consignment stores, we’re tempted to just hang on to them. Outlet malls sell slightly downmarket versions of their products and the major department stores are putting them on sale to get rid of inventory. Designers have been on a frantic expansion binge and mid-range designer purses are now so ubiquitous they’ve lost some of their cachet, and the greedy manufacturers and retailers have no one to blame but themselves.
Maybe the manufacturers and retailers are now starting to get the message. Coach stock prices have dropped forty percent and Michael Kors is busy remerchandising to avoid a similar fate. Kate Spade is pulling ahead in the race for profits but will that brand make the same mistakes as her competitors? It’s going to be interesting watching the battle from the sidelines. If you’re in the market for a good quality handbag, the department stores have some great deals and it pays to shop around. The bottom line is, now is probably not a good time to put stock in purses. They are, after all, designed to keep your money in not spend your money on. The challenge now is to take my own advice.