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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Luxury market to grow despite weak economy

Mahua Venkatesh & Himani Chandna Gurtoo , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 07, 2013
First Published: 01:29 IST(7/2/2013) | Last Updated: 03:14 IST(7/2/2013)

Sameira Khanna, 42, recently bought a Louis Vuitton bag for Rs. 35,000 on an impulse. Anuj Jatav, 25, a student, purchased a Bang & Olufsen’s Beolit 12, a Rs. 70,000 audio system, with help from his father. And the list of expensive purchases in the middle of an economic slowdown is quite long.

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The luxury goods market —estimated at Rs. 43,000 crore — not only seems to have remained recession-proof in India, it is also poised for a 20% growth rate in the current financial year, analysts say. Big luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, have firmed up plans to expand their base here.

For, Credit Suisse Research Institute’s global wealth report said India was expected to witness a significant jump in the number of millionaires over the next five years.

DLF Emporio, the upmarket south Delhi mall that is home to brands like Bottega Veneta, Cavalli Caffe, Fendi and Versace, has seen an increase in footfall.

“Of the total footfall at Emporio, at least 75% of people make ‘luxury’ purchases on weekdays and 55% of them buy on weekends,” said Dinaz Madhukar, senior vice-president, DLF Emporio and DLF Promenade.

Louis Vuitton, which recently indicated it would go slow on global expansion, plans to open stores in Chennai, Kolkata and Chandigarh.

“The Indian market has been very encouraging for us and there has been no dent in our activities here. We are firming up plans to expand,” Tikka Shatrujit Singh, advisor to the chairman, Louis Vuitton told HT.

Christian Dior, which currently has two outlets in India, designs and sells fashion accessories, jewellery, timepieces, fragrances and other premium products. It is also hunting for appropriate locations across India.

“Dior has witnessed a steady growth in business and we are keen on expanding our retail outlets,” said Kalyani Chawla, vice- president, marketing and communications, Christian Dior Couture, India. “We are looking for feasible infrastructure and locations that suit our brand image and positioning.”

Dior currently has two stores in India.

“Luxury as an industry is fairly recession proof because the luxury consumer has relatively high disposable income that does not get affected much by sudden market changes.

"This is reflected in most luxury brands extending their base in India, including the brands in the Genesis portfolio,”  Roasie Virq Ahluwalia corporate affairs for Genesis Colours, a company that imports brands such as Armani, Canali, Etro and Paul Smith, said.


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