Louis Vuitton hiked prices - HSBC

Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:37pm EDT

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* Louis Vuitton increased prices of non-leather bags-HSBC

* Hikes of 10 percent in Europe, 10 pct or more in U.S, UK

* Increases of 5-10 pct in several Asian markets

PARIS, March 26 (Reuters) - Louis Vuitton, the world's biggest luxury brand by sales, has put up the prices of its non-leather handbags in most markets since the beginning of the year, broker HSBC said in a note sent to clients.

The broker said the price hikes, based on its own store observations, were meant to address the brand's "ubiquity" problem longer term but they could have a negative impact on volumes in the short term.

LVMH, the parent company of Louis Vuitton, declined to comment on the HSBC note.

Canvas items make up about two thirds of Louis Vuitton's total accessories sales and yield gross margins of 90 percent against 75 percent for leather bags, according to analysts' estimates.

HSBC spotted price increases of around 10 percent on most non-leather bags such as the Speedy and the NeverFull in the euro zone, and of 10 percent or more in the UK and in the United States.

It also noted price increases of 5-10 percent on the same goods in several Asian markets including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.

LVMH shares, which lost 6.5 percent since the beginning of the year, closed up 1.3 percent on Tuesday at 131.3 euros. (Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt and Pascale Denis; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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