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Hermes boutiques negotiating on price?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by TimelesStyle, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. meimeichen

    meimeichen New Member

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    oh really? I think it is impossible to negotiate with any designer brands.
     
  2. SchoolyardBully

    SchoolyardBully Senior member

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    Unless you're in China town.
     
  3. Alex Dumortier

    Alex Dumortier Well-Known Member

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    My guess is that, given the situation you are describing, Hermes wouldn't offer you a single penny's discount on your purchase. However, I think that, in general, people underestimate the potential for price negotiation, even in the case of illustrious brands (but I think the starting total needs to be significantly higher than the one for the items you're after.) I have heard multiple accounts of people negotiating a better price on Cartier jewelry, for example, even at the flagship store on Place Vendome in Paris.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  4. Frog in Suit

    Frog in Suit Senior member

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    I would not dream of asking for a discount at an Hermès shop. The only one I have ever been to is the one in Paris but I would be surprised if this did not apply to all their shops.

    If you were a billionaire, a member of a reigning house or a world-class “celebrity” you might ask them (through your butler, agent, local ambassador…) to shop there after hours with only your wives, mistresses, children and close friends but I do not know if that would mean discounted prices. If you were in that category, you probably would be indifferent to price anyway.

    The only Hermès sale in France is just once a year (maybe twice but I do not think so) at the Palais des Congrès (Porte Maillot). It is fairly discreetly advertised in the press. They offer unsold stuff from the shops, perhaps things with a tiny imperfection (I believe you really have to look to find it). People line around the building before it opens…

    There is no reason for Hermès to play the discount game. I once read an interview of their late chairman in which he said that, if they could not produce at the level of quality they want, whether for lack of materials or not enough qualified workers, they just did not produce. If they worry about supply of raw material (many of the suppliers are very specialized and very small), they purchase the supplier. They train their own workers (I think they have an employee-only stock distribution plan as an incentive to stay with the firm) and make most of what they sell themselves. They are a public but family-controlled company. Arnault, the chairman of LVMH, tried to buy Hermès or at least gain control, essentially by getting his banks to purchase shares under their names so he would not have to disclose his interest. The family fought back and he was fined by the French equivalent of the SEC.

    Disclosure: I have a (very tiny) number of shares in Hermès so would prefer not to cheapen the brand or lower their margins!

    A jeweller such as Cartier may be willing to discount unique or last season’s pieces which are not moving. It does not mean they will give a discount to anyone who asks or on all of their goods. That is my guess, anyway.

    Frog in Suit
     
  5. TimelesStyle

    TimelesStyle Senior member

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    I think that the biggest difference between Hermes and Cartier in this regard is that Cartier's own boutiques must compete with independent authorized dealers (particularly when it comes to time pieces), who do make a practice of negotiating on price. It's probably harder to get a discount on a Cartier watch from the company's own boutique than from an independent authorized dealer, but at the end of the day sometimes they probably give in.
     
  6. Alex Dumortier

    Alex Dumortier Well-Known Member

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    My understanding is that it is possible to obtain a discount even on a classic piece, but it needs to be sufficiently "big ticket".
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
  7. David Reeves

    David Reeves Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Well I haven't worked for Hermes but I did work for Prada and I can tell you we sold boat loads of wallets everyday, in London's bond street. As a manager I would never normally think to authorize a discount on such a small purchase. Buying things from these stores may seem expensive to you but if they do, you really aren't a typical customer, it's really just not a big deal for them to sell even 10 wallets to you.

    As a time pressed manager I may have given you 10% off to get you out of my face though, so you could be annoying and persistent with a manager, but is it worth the loss of dignity? For me it wouldn't be.

    I would say if your dropping 5k+ you could probably get 10%

    Even then you may not though. I was working at a very posh shop (won't say which but more high end than hermes) doing pinning for alterations for a salesman (I did sales as well but I could actually pin garments). I had this chap who was clearly some American CEO type, he bought 3 very expensive suits and lots of shirts and ties. When he got to the register he asked the sales guy very nicely if there was any discount he could get. The salesman looked at him literally like he was shit and said "discount? Discount?! Elton John gets discount! He buys everything in the store twice a year my friend! This shop clerk on $25000 per anum made this big shot feel like a loser.

    Of course that was an outrageous response, about twenty minutes later we got a phone call with the guy wanting to talk to me. He asked if I just did the tailoring and I said no, then he said he'd like to deal with me in the future.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
    2 people like this.
  8. Griffyndor

    Griffyndor Senior member

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    No discount as far as I know. However, if you are a regular customer, you can cut wait times for custom orders.
     
  9. Frog in Suit

    Frog in Suit Senior member

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    "Posher than Hermès" ??? I do not believe for one instant that such a thing exists :laugh:.

    My -- limited -- experience of Hermès sales staff (only in Paris) is that they are unfailingly polite. Mind you, I do not make a habit of ruffling salesmen's feathers when I shop.

    Frog in Suit
     
  10. GITU

    GITU Well-Known Member

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    They won't even take a fucking picture of a tie, to confirm it's the right one, and email it to you, before they ship it to another store. Thanks NYC Hermes for helping out a Bostonian! Anyway, so I doubt this is true.
     
  11. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    Hermes Paris sales staff is incredibly polite, I overheard a Japanese tourist attempting to negotiate with some enthusiasm, sounds like that does not happen.
     
  12. stevent

    stevent Senior member

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    Hermes does have a sale coming up the 22nd-24th I believe
     
  13. TimelesStyle

    TimelesStyle Senior member

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    Out of curiosity, which Paris store? I find the staff in the main St. Honore store a bit snippy and off-putting but found the St. Germain neighborhood store to be much, much friendlier and more helpful (it's also an incredibly cool store layout).
     
  14. Macallan

    Macallan Senior member

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    Richard James
     
  15. MikeDT

    MikeDT Senior member

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    I've you're a mainlander buying designer in bulk, you'll haggle.
     
  16. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    I was at the store on st Germain, I have not been to the Hermes store on st honore just yet.
     
  17. Mr Engineer

    Mr Engineer Senior member

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    Quote:Is this sale at stores only or also online? What does the sale include?
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  18. clee1982

    clee1982 Senior member

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    some story you got:nodding:
     
  19. TimelesStyle

    TimelesStyle Senior member

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    Yes, the staff was by far the most helpful there. They were quite helpful at the store near the Arc de Triomphe as well, but less conversational due to language barrier (those at St. G spoke English fluently, those at AdT a bit less so and I don't speak any French). In my experience, completely different world than St. Honore, largely because neither of those stores likely sees the same volume of tourists overwhelming staff.
     

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