Luxury brands expand in India

08 August 2012

NEW DELHI: Premium goods companies such as Louis Vuitton, Genesis Luxury and Swarovski are expanding their retail networks in India, as affluence and consumer interest rises across the country.

Louis Vuitton, the leather goods and fashion label, has just opened its first store in Chennai, one of several urban centres attracting increased attention from players in the luxury category.

"Chennai is a great market, full of possibilities and perspectives," Geoffroy van Raemdonck, Louis Vuitton's president for South Europe, told the Economic Times. Other locations the company is considering include Gurgaon, Hyderabad and Noida.

It also plans to establish a presence in Kolkata, where brands like Bottega Veneta, Bally, Burberry, Rolex, Porsche Design and Jimmy Choo have all recently taken space in a new high-end mall.

Genesis Luxury, which works with Armani, Burberry and Canali in India, has followed the same route in a mall in Surat, reserving around half a dozen sites.

Elsewhere, the firm is seeking to identify appropriate sites in Chandigarh, Jaipur and Ludhiana, having found its outlets in Delhi and Mumbai receive many visitors from these areas.

"There is a nascent market waiting to explode. We think the time has come," Sanjay Kapoor, managing director of Genesis Luxury, said.

For its part, Virtuous Retail, the mall developer, has formed a tie-up with Rohit Bal, the designer, to launch its own stores in Surat. Some 73% of the city's 5m residents are below 35 years old, and 32% earn more than Rs300,000 per year.

Rajesh Shukla, director of the NCAER, the research group, reported that "boomtowns" such as Bhopal, Coimbatore, Jaipur, Kanpur, Lucknow and Nagpur presented particularly substantial opportunities.

"The number of high-income households in 'boomtowns' is growing at around 20% a year, against 13.7% in the megacities," he said. "Boomtown households on average spend 12.7% more than mega cities on clothing."

Swarovski, the jewellery company, has similar aspirations, having launched boutiques in both Ahmedabad and Pune over the course of 2011.

"This year we are opening in Ludhiana and Chandigarh and also looking at Kochi and Jaipur," Sukanya Dutta Roy, managing director of Swarovski India's consumer goods arm, said.

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff