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Economy

Luxury brands lifting prices in Japan amid brisk demand

Sellers confident that sales won't suffer

Tasaki will raise prices on necklaces, rings and other items.

TOKYO -- Homegrown and foreign purveyors of luxury goods are raising prices in Japan on brisk sales to inbound tourists as well as a weaker yen.

British jewelry brand Graff will update pricing on almost its entire lineup here Wednesday, with certain products receiving increases of around 8%.

Japan's Tasaki will add a few percent to prices for necklaces, rings and other items in January. The move has apparently been prompted by the softening of the yen against the euro and higher costs for such materials as platinum and diamonds. Rising logistics costs inside Japan have also factored in.

Saint Laurent of France raised prices on selected items by 10% on average in November. Bottega Veneta of Italy did so by an average of 5% in October. Burberry lifted prices on certain bags and apparel last month, in line with a directive from corporate headquarters in the U.K. to sharpen its focus on high-end offerings and take a second look at pricing.

Balenciaga will revise pricing on certain men's offerings Dec. 18, with selected apparel and leather goods climbing 9-13%. The Spanish brand also hiked prices in October.

Celine increased prices on leather handbags and other items by about 10,000 yen ($88) in late October. With consumption healthy thanks to the growing ranks of tourists to Japan and to the stock rally boosting the wealth effect for Japanese, the French brand expects no hit to sales.

Tax-free shoppers increased 56% on the year to around 380,000 in October, according to the Japan Department Stores Association. The Nikkei Stock Average has reached its highest in 26 years, fueling hopes for consumption. "People tend to loosen their purse strings when high stocks boost the value of their assets," a Tasaki official said.

Mercedes-Benz Japan will hike prices by an average of 1% in January on 16 models including the A-Class, priced around 3 million yen. Audi Japan will mark up certain models that month, including the mainstay A3 sedan.

With Japanese sales of imported vehicles the strongest in two decades this year, luxury car companies seem confident that higher prices will not dent sales.

(Nikkei)

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