DLF Ltd., which is building a mall for foreign and local luxury brands in New Delhi, plans to come up with five more such malls to cash in on a burgeoning market for high- end goods currently stymied by a lack of space.
“In the five-year horizon, we will be coming up with luxury malls in five metros,” said Pia Singh, director of DLF.
DLF plans to open its first luxury mall called Emporio in the Vasant Kunj neighbourhood of New Delhi. The 300,000 sq. ft emporia is expected to open later this year.
Singh said the company has already acquired land in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad and the projects are in the “planning stage.” She declined to say how much the company plans to invest in the five malls.
Once that’s done, the company plans to focus on opening such malls in second-rung Indian cities such as Pune and Ludhiana. “In a 10-year time line, we see the luxury sector penetrating into smaller cities,” Singh said.
But getting the much-needed space is just one part of the problem.
Xavier Bertrand, managing director of Chanel in India, says luxury companies find it hard to find trained staff to handle high-end clientele. “Once you build a successful environment like the one DLF is about to open in Delhi, you need to find people to manage that environment,” said Bertrand, who is currently in New Delhi to attend a luxury conference organized by Mint and Hindustan Times. “It’s a very critical issue as a lot of foreign and Indian luxury brands have a lot of difficulty sourcing people who understand the various perceptions of luxury and who understand excellence in services.”
Bertrand suggested that luxury brands work with the Retailers Association of India, a group representing India’s modern retailers, to train their staff.