New Delhi: Cautious but optimistic seems to be the outlook of the purveyors of luxury goods in India. Hermes, which set up its only Indian store in Delhi almost a year ago, says it may take years for it to become a big business in India. The French luxury goods maker says it currently sees India more as a place to learn, rather than a place to earn profits. “We are open to expansion but not now, not this year anyway”, says Christian Blanckaert, Executive VP of Hermes. ”Because of the slowdown and first we have to succeed in Delhi. It’s not so easy to expand in India because of infrastructure, because of administrative difficulties and duties.”
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The Murjani Group, which has brought premium brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and FCUK to India, says it has a clear advantage because of competitive price points for these brands and the availability of the latest products in India.
But for some luxury brands sales have been slow in India as a result of prohibitive franchisee agreements, high setup costs and rentals and underestimating the spending habits of the Indian consumer. The Murjani Group has brought luxury brands like Bottega Veneta, Gucci, and more recently Jimmy Choo to India.
The economic slowdown may be making growth an uphill task for some of the luxury brands now in India. But most of them are not shutting shop just yet. They believe that growth in infrastructure, changes in the consumer mindset as well as wealth creation will make the environment a lot more favorable in the future.