Does Chanel’s Stance on E-Commerce Make Sense? | This Week in Fashion, BoF Professional

The pandemic hit fashion’s biggest luxury players hard. But it hit Chanel worst of all, according to figures released by the French luxury giant this week.

The company’s sales sagged 18 percent last year, slightly under-performing LVMH and Kering and significantly lagging accessories powerhouse Hermès. It’s the first time the privately held Chanel has failed to record double-digit growth since it started publishing financial results four years ago. Operating profit plummeted 41 percent.

Like its luxury rivals, the company suffered as stores closed in key markets and normally high-spending international tourists were grounded. Chanel was particularly vulnerable because a comparatively large proportion of its business is driven by sales of cosmetics and perfume that were hard hit by the decline in travel retail.

But the company faced another handicap: unlike brands such as Dior, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, Chanel doesn’t sell its core fashion and accessories products online, so when

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