There are very few designer labels that never go on sale. Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton come to mind, but these are companies that mainly trade in non-seasonal goods. Even highly desirable luxury brands like Prada, Hermès and Chanel have seasonal clearances because there's always something left over that didn't capture a customer. Normally, one would add Gucci to that list, but not this season, or possibly the next one. Gucci's CEO Marco Bizarre has announced that the customer response to new creative director Alessandro Michele's first collections (pictured above) has been so unexpectedly strong that there simply isn't enough left to put on sale without leaving the store's racks bare. Michele's shows with their offbeat "dressed in the dark" eclecticism delighted critics and stylists, but were far from what any retailer would have called a commercial sure thing. Recognizing the potential need for an adjustment period for the brand's new look, Gucci kept its production levels conservative, but the degree of caution was unnecessary, as Bizzari told Business of Fashion, "The full price [sell-through] was very, very high, so we don’t have a lot left, frankly.” What will happen when the collection is finally out of season? it may go to outlets, or possibly be held over until June, when a decision regarding marking down the current Cruise collection will be made. If you thought you might pick something up at a multi-brand retailer, you may not have much more success. Gucci's in-store shops at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale's are leased operations that will follow the same markdown schedule as the boutiques, and while the ones at Bergdorf's are not leased, the store is likely to be experiencing the same kind of sell-throughs with the collection as the boutiques.
Will there never be a Gucci sale again? Probably, at some point, the brand will return to the practice. Eventually, if demand for Michele's collections keeps up, production will be increased and there will be more left at the end of the season to put on clearance, but the brand could always choose to keep production tight and burnish its image with a no-markdowns policy which always helps profit margins. Gucci, after all makes its money from shoes and handbags which are less seasonal items.While the fashion collections get a lot of press, they are less of a revenue generator for a company known for leather goods. Sale shoppers may have to wait this one out for a while.
Michele Momentum Means No Markdowns at Gucci (Business of Fashion)