Chanel is to begin selling products directly through its website later this year in a landmark decision likely to be followed by rival luxury brands.
Chanel will sell only its fragrances online but is looking to extend this to eyewear and accessories.
In the past, luxury fashion brands have shied away from selling goods via the web, but some industry figures believe 2010 could be a ‘watershed’.
Many labels have suffered a sharp decline in sales as a result of the downturn.
This has prompted them to refocus their digital marketing strategies to grow sales and gain a foothold in emerging markets.