Luxury store apologizes to Oprah
Hermes' Paris store had rebuffed talk show host
(CNN) -- Luxury store Hermes on Wednesday apologized to Oprah Winfrey for turning her away last week, saying that the store was closed to set up for a public relations event when the talk show host stopped by its Paris store.
"Hermes regrets not having been able to accommodate Ms. Winfrey and her team and to provide her with the service and care that Hermes strives to provide to each and every one of its customers worldwide," the store said in a statement.
"Hermes apologizes for any offense taken due to such circumstances."
The store said the incident occurred on June 14 around 6:45 p.m., about 15 minutes after the store closed. It said Winfrey and her team arrived at a time when "a private PR event was being set up inside."
Winfrey had no immediate comment.
The New York Post, which first reported the story in its Page Six column Monday, cited sources close to Winfrey that the talk show host was first rebuffed by a clerk and then a store manager. The Post said Winfrey had gone to the store to buy a watch for singer Tina Turner, her dinner partner that night.
The Daily News added that she was turned away because the store had been "having a problem with North Africans lately."
In comments to CNN, a spokeswoman categorically denied that allegation.
"There was never any discussion of North Africans," the spokeswoman said. "The story is not true."
The spokeswoman said Winfrey came to the store 15 minutes after closing and a security guard informed her the store was closed and gave her a card, telling her she could come back the next day.
Surveillance videotape of the encounter supports the store's account of what happened, according to the spokeswoman.
She said the CEO of Hermes has called Winfrey's people to explain "the situation" and invited her to come back to shop in the store.