FASHION VICTIM; Posh Goods Lose Snob Value as 'Poor' Buy In
Byline: TANITH CAREY, Consumer Editor
TOP-class goods are losing their snob value because too many "ordinary" people are buying them, it is claimed today.
The "victims" of the surge in demand by the under-pounds 32,000 brigade include Burberry clothes, drinks such as Remy Martin cognac and Chivas Regal scotch and personal products by Christian Dior and Givenchy.
One expert says the answer is to raise prices to keep the luxury goods out of the reach of all but the privileged few.
Market analyst Andrew Russell, who has prepared a Datamonitor report on the "problem", said: "Retailers need to be careful because too-fast growth among 'aspirational' consumers destroys a brand's prestige.
"Aspirational customers are less wealthy than the core prestige base. But they have the wherewithal to save and buy prestige goods on occasions.
"But when these products start becoming mass market, it destroys the prestige value of the brand.
"Burberry became a common high street brand, despite its prestige, because aspirational shoppers wanted it too - and diluted its cachet."
Last year, UK consumers spent pounds 2.37billion on "prestige" items such as designer make-up, jewellery, leather goods and expensive spirits.
The trend is expected to continue, with sales of champagnes and fine wines rising by six per cent and posh cosmetics by almost four per cent over the next four years.
Mr Russell added: "The rich are getting richer all the time while those who don't have the money want to look like they do. …