Duty Free Leathergoods

Leather and accessories – Bagging a bargain

Handbags have been big news for a long time. Women still don’t seem to be able to get enough of them so, in step with downtown department stores, airport buyers have gone out of their way to stock bigger and better collections.

At Biza in Manchester International terminals one and two, the revamped stores now have large areas devoted to handbags from the likes of Radley Guess, and Mondalu. They join better known names such as Calvin Klein, Diesel, DKNY, Fiorelli, Furla and Marc Jacobs. Pop into Paris Charles de Gaulle to swoon over the latest creation from Hermès or to Heathrow for Mulberry’s typically English take on the season.

France’s Longchamp just launched its new line designed by supermodel Kate Moss straight into its Hong Kong International airport store before it was even in downtown stores anywhere in the entire Asia Pacific region. That shows how important the airport channel has become for leather brands.

Others that are making Asia a staging post for wider expansion include MCM and Coach, which is already very popular in the local Japanese market. More utilitarian but still prestigious and pricey with it is Tumi which has seen fast expansion for its briefcases and luggage, while celebrity lines from the likes of Paris Hilton have also been recent hits.From early 2013 you may notice that some luxury brands have had to think harder about the offer they have put into the airport channel. With so many passengers cutting their spending, rather than reduce prices, many labels have introduced lines that are made from less expensive materials such as canvas with leather trims instead of a full leather item, in order to keep their sales up. How long this will last depends on the extent of the economic slowdown.

And if you want to shop at even lower prices, at the other end of the spectrum there are an increasing number of Bijoux Terner stores in airports across the US, Europe and Asia. The Miami-based retailer has a one-price policy for its products • usually around the Eu15 mark or less • and for this you can buy products that span jewellery, sunglasses, textile accessories like ties and scarves and even handbags and watches. If you can bag a bargain anywhere in the airport it will probably be here!

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