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European brands flock to India as home sales dip

business Updated: Apr 16, 2012 01:34 IST
Himani Chandna Gurtoo

Hit by dipping sales at home, sovereign debt worries and austerity moves, many European brands are heading towards to India seeking to expand footprint in the world's second fastest growing major economy.

And the trend is not limited to luxury and premium brands.

An Aston Martin car, a Louis Vuitton bag or a limited Montblac pen are things that millions of middle-class Indians now aspire to acquire fuelled by rising disposable incomes and greater brand awareness.

Italian luxury apparel maker Canclini Tessile is tying up with a little known Tirupur-based, Emperor Textiles to stitch its shirts in India.

Premium watchmaker Tag Heuer has drawn out plans to expand its women watch segment to 35%. Elle, a French multinational group plans to invest R25 crore in a joint venture with Arvind Lifestyle.

"We are hunting for destinations where GDP is growing steadily and economy is competitive enough," said Danny F. Espersen, vice president, Bang & Olufsen, a premium Dutch electronics major.

Dutch electronics major Bang & Olufsen has as appointed Shreyans Group as its master dealer for the country, a move aimed at expanding its business in India.

There are an estimated $153,000 dollar millionaires in India driving the growth of luxury sales in a country that was not too recently counted among the world's poorest nations.

According to a CII-AT Kearney report, the Indian luxury market grew at 20% last year to $5.8 billion, despite strong signs of slowdown in the broader economy.