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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Handbags Fly Off Ralph Lauren Shelves

bloombergSales assistants preparing for the opening of a three-story Ralph Lauren store in Tretyakovsky Passazh last week.
Polo Ralph Lauren, the maker of Ralph Lauren and Club Monaco clothes, sold out of crocodile handbags the day its flagship store opened in Moscow.

The designer opened its first stores last week, including a 720-square-meter, three-story outlet amid the luxury shops in Tretyakovsky Passazh.

The Ricky handbag, named after chairman Ralph Lauren's wife, sells for 16,000 euros ($21,580) and there are none left in the store, Alla Verber, vice president of local franchisee Mercury Group, said at the Wednesday opening party. Luxury goods make up 10 percent of retail sales in Russia, a market worth $270 billion that may grow as much as 17 percent next year, according to Moscow researcher Fashion Consulting.

Polo also opened a smaller store in Mercury's Barvikha Luxury Village.

Ralph Lauren is arriving in Moscow later than his larger competitors. LVMH Mo--t Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world's biggest luxury-goods maker, opened its first outlet in Russia in 2003, six years after Gucci entered the country.

"The Russian market is going to get quite crowded quite quickly," said Simon Irwin, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase in London. "They're not all going to succeed; there's just not enough room."

Gianni Versace, the Italian fashion house named after its late founder, was one of the first international designers to open a stand-alone store in Moscow in 1994.

The Tretyakovsky store has a brick facade designed to match that of the Kremlin Palace and an iron and glass elevator.

"The Russian consumer will be able to experience my vision for the first time and it is thrilling," Lauren said in a statement distributed at the party.