updated 17 May 2013, 21:00
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Sat, Apr 23, 2011
The New Paper
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Kate Spade not shipping here
by Rae Tan

IF YOU'RE a fan of New York fashion label Kate Spade and have been buying items from their US website, you won't be able to do so anymore.

Kate Spade, famous for its handbags, has recently stopped shipping their products to certain countries that have their boutiques, including Singapore.

Buyers here who want to buy from the website usually use online concierge services such as comGateway, Singapore Post's vConcierge and Borderlinx, as the Kate Spade website does not accept non-US credit cards.

Such services allow Singaporeans to shop with online retailers that do not ship to Singapore or accept payment from credit cards issued here. Typically, they charge a 5 per cent fee.

In a reply to The New Paper's queries, Kate Spade said that "customers in Japan, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Singapore, Brazil and the Philippines can be best serviced by our store associates there".

As such, the company will "no longer accept international credit cards from countries in which we operate a Kate Spade specialty store".

Many Singaporeans prefer to buy Kate Spade items from the US website as they are cheaper than in the stores here.

For example, the Bay Street Quinn bag that goes for US$345 (S$427) on the website costs $730 in stores here. And the Nylon Gracie bag costs US$225 on the website but is selling at $450 in stores here.

The company has two boutiques in Singapore - at Raffles City and Takashimaya.

Kate Spade's decision has disappointed customers and providers of online concierge services here.

Housewife Madam Rahimah Samsudin, 37, often buys items from the Kate Spade website via comGateway.

But when she tried to order a bag on March 26, she received an e-mail from comGateway saying that Kate Spade no longer ships its products out of the US. Kate Spade already has "boutiques and shops in the Asia Pacific region," the e-mail read.

Madam Rahimah said: "I always look forward to the sale section on the Kate Spade website, which has items that are such a steal."

Huge disappointment

Customer service coordinator Ms Winnie Oh, 29, who owns four Kate Spade bags, said: "It's a huge disappointment. I fell in love with the brand when I saw my best friend carrying a Kate Spade bag."

The three online concierge service providers said that Kate Spade made the decision two to three weeks ago.

comGateway founder and CEO Danny Lim said: "We are in the midst of getting our partners in the US to talk to Kate Spade and find out more about the reason behind their actions."

The company has been working with Kate Spade since 2005. Mr Lim said Kate Spade is the first US brand they have worked with to take this move.

A Borderlinx spokesman said: "We find it very odd as we are a very big company. We don't see why Kate Spade would not want to work with us any longer.

"We will definitely look into this and seek an explanation from Kate Spade."

Globalluxe, Kate Spade's distributor in Asia, declined comment "as it is business-sensitive".

Ms Regina Yeo, an adjunct marketing lecturer at the NUS School of Business, said: "I wouldn't be surprised if Kate Spade's move was due to the distributor here being unhappy.

"The distributors have to pay a premium to get the distributorship, they wouldn't want to let these online concierge services undercut their margin."

Some Kate Spade fans said they would now buy from the boutiques here.

Early-childhood practitioner Ann Aludra, 32, who owns over 30 Kate Spade items, said: "The extra cost is the price I pay to get my purchases immediately and to be served personally. Plus, I get to request for a gift box, which is not an available option on the Kate Spade website."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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