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Hermès Boosts Kelly Bag Output With New Normandy Facility

Hermès is considering using the metaverse for communications.
Hermes inaugurated a leather goods manufacturing facility in Normandy. (Shutterstock)

Hermès inaugurated a leather goods manufacturing facility in Normandy as the luxury brand seeks to meet rising demand for Kelly and Constance handbags.

The facility in the town of Louviers has 140 leather workers and aims to double that within four years to produce bags, saddles and small leather goods. The facility in Louviers is making €7,700 ($8,400) Kelly bags in 25-centimetre size and will eventually churn out another model called Constance mini. One Kelly bag takes between 14 and 20 hours to be made and is produced by a single leather-worker.

Hermès aims to grow its volumes of leather goods by about 7 percent a year, adding about one leather plant a year, executive chairman Axel Dumas told reporters Friday. The luxury goods company’s production increase is limited by the need for savoir-faire.

“Training takes time,” Dumas said. “We take our best artisans, and they become trainers, so they’re no longer in production.” That’s why one opening a year is “optimal not to disrupt what we do while still growing.”

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Hermès has 21 leather manufacturing plants across France. The Louviers facility was spread over 6,200 square meters (67,000 square feet) and was conceived by the architect Lina Ghotmeh. Hermès has another leather manufacturing site as well as a fragrance plant in the region of Normandy. About a quarter of the company’s almost 20,000 workers globally are leather goods artisans.

This week, Hermès crossed the 200 billion-euro valuation milestone as investors rushed to buy luxury names they see as resilient to inflation pressures on consumers’ budgets. Luxury stocks have so far been relatively unscathed by the market volatility, with Hermès shares rising 30 percent so far this year.

Some analysts consider Hermès to be in a category of its own as far as pricing power is concerned. Demand for its handbags typically surpasses its production capacity. Many bags also enjoy a higher resale value. Hermès reports first-quarter sales on April 14.

While all of its bags are made in the company’s home market, the label’s watches are manufactured in Switzerland and the company also has some shoe manufacturing activities in Italy.

By Angelina Rascouet

Learn more:

Hermès Surfs Luxury Boom to €200 Billion Market Value

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