Luxury Goods May Pick and Choose Venues for Sales

By JAMES KANTER for New York Times

BRUSSELS — Many makers of high-end perfumes, clothing and handbags will be able to block retailers that sell only on the Internet from carrying their products, according to new rules issued by the European Commission on Tuesday.

The rules appeared to be a victory for companies like LVMH Moët Hennessey Louis Vuitton, a French luxury goods maker, which lobbied heavily for the rules and could, under some circumstances, refuse to supply online sellers like eBay and Amazon that lack one or more physical shops.

Under the rules, makers of goods that have less than a 30 percent share of the market would essentially have a free hand to decide how to distribute and sell their wares.

Guy Salter, a spokesperson for European Alliance, a group representing luxury goods associations that include companies like LVMH, Gucci and Burberry, said the commission had “recognized the importance of the luxury goods industry to Europe.”

The “quality, service and authenticity of luxury products will be maintained,” Mr. Salter said.

Full feature appears in http://www.nytimes.com TECHNOLOGY

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