STATEN ISLAND, NY — The next time you place a big order on Costco.com, do yourself a favor and type “Yves Saint Laurent” into the search bar. No chance? Try “Louis Vuitton”, “Gucci”, “Chanel” or “Prada”. If you’ve never purchased creators before from the Goliath Retail Warehouse, you might be surprised by the exclusive range of rotating inventory that regularly pops up and then quickly disappears.
“Like many items sold at Costco, designer handbags are not advertised prior to sale,” a member of Costco’s corporate communications team said via email, in response to an Advance inquiry. / SILive.com on some of the super chic wallets and satchels that have recently populated the wholesaler’s website. “Beyond that, it is our policy not to specifically comment on an item’s availability.”
Availability being the key word.
More than a few popular designer bags reside on Costco’s busy website – Chloe, YSL and Fendi among them – but when you try to place these primo handbags in your shopping cart, an error message tells you that the product is not found. The cutest Louis Vuitton Neverfull tote was here last week, now it’s gone. So while Costco’s catalog of designer goods exists, it’s extremely competitive. Almost as frustrating as logging on to buy concert tickets and seeing the bounty quickly disappear.
“The warehouse club is not an authorized reseller for certain high-end products, such as designer handbags and fragrances,” Kiplinger said in a post about Costco’s closely guarded luxury goods secret. “These products end up on Costco’s shelves via the supply chain’s ‘grey market‘ which is filled with excess merchandise or items with minor imperfections or subtle variations in quality that high-end boutiques don’t want. no… And the manufacturer’s warranty may not apply to your product if Costco is not an authorized reseller.
But they’re real, not fake, the site reported, and they’re decently discounted.
Chloe’s Med Darryl, which sells for $1,850 in Bergdorf, was listed for $1,399 on Costco.com. The YSL Kate, $1,990 at Neiman Marcus, is also $1,399 at Costco. Prada’s Saffiano, listed for $2,250 on the designer’s site, can be had for $1,599. And the Fendi “By The Way” shoulder bag is priced at $1,299 on the wholesaler’s website, a bargain compared to the designer’s list price of $1,750. But that’s only if you can spot it and grab it from Costco’s extremely limited supply.
If you’re into handbags, other designer accessories and beauty products are on offer: Alexander McQueen offers sunglasses here, as do coveted brands like Maui Jim, Rayban and Oakley. Salvatore Ferragamo and Versace offer $500 watches on the site, and the very prestigious Omega Seamaster brand offers watches ranging from $8,000 to $20,000 on Costco.com.
Chanel’s $650 Sublimage Skin Serum can be had for $499, and Dior’s Prestige LaCreme Face Cream retails for $289 — a significant discount from the $400 price tag at dior.com. Fragrance and cologne lovers can shop Tom Ford and Gucci varieties for $75 to $100 less than retail, and high-end beauty brands like La Mer and SK-II are also selling out here.
And if you really have spare cash, check out the “TreasureHunt” tab on the Costco homepage. This is where you’ll find a $30,000 strand of gold South Sea cultured pearls and an $8,000 set of six-carat dripping diamond earrings. To celebrate all your designer purchases, slip a Veuve Clicquot champagne and caviar box into your basket. It comes with chilled creme fraiche and is a steal at $169.99.