New Delhi: Italian luxury fashion brand Stefano Ricci, known for its menswear, recently introduced an interior design division in India. The company founded by designer Stefano Ricci in 1972 entered India in 2015 and currently operates one store at the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai. Stefano Ricci, which is headquartered in Fiesole (near Florence in Italy) owns 52 mono-brand boutiques across Asia-Pacific, Russia, the Middle East, Europe and North America.
Jackie Manglani, president at Stefano Ricci India, spoke about the company’s expansion plans and expectations from the Indian market, the impact of demonetisation of high-value currency notes on the business and the changing style preferences of Indian men. Edited excerpts:
How big is Stefano Ricci as a brand in India?
We are the number one men’s fashion brand across the globe. In India, we carry the entire range of products for men from clothes to accessories. Plus, we have a home collection where we offer dinner sets, whiskey sets and silverware. We recently introduced an interior design division where we design interiors for expensive homes across the globe. These are turnkey projects.
Did you see sales decline after demonetisation of high-value currency notes?
No. Our cash transactions are few, less than even 5%. Our customers are from the corporate space and they usually pay us by cheque. Being a foreign company, we import everything. We discourage transactions in cash. In fact, things have gotten better for us. Demonetisation has given direction to the economy. People have adapted better spending patterns now. Demonetisation came as a blessing in disguise.
What is your target group?
0.1% of the Indian population. With products priced at as low as Rs15,000-19,000 for a tie and as high as Rs30 lakh for a belt which is made of diamonds or gold, we deal with the who’s who of Indian society.
China has been the biggest market for Stefano Ricci. How different is the Indian market from China?
The China story has been fantastic and I would very much like to repeat it here. Growth in China has been phenomenal. The difference between India and China is that India is 7-10 years behind China in terms of consumer spending. Indian consumers are yet to catch up to the kind of spending Chinese consumers do.
We have taken a long-term view of India. There is enough wealth in the country but you have to develop your brand and it takes time.
How much does India contribute to your global revenue?
Nothing, really. Globally, our business is very big. India is not even contributing 3-5% to our global turnover. This is a new market and it has only been two years for us. In the next five years, we expect India to contribute about 10% to the global sales.
How do you plan to widen your base in India?
We are looking at different locations but we are not in a hurry. We are looking to open the next store in Delhi as and when we find a suitable location. We need to have a store in the capital before moving onto other cities like Bangalore, Chennai and so on.
Do you sell online?
No. We don’t have an online strategy in India. Online business is done through the head office in Florence. Because of many constraints here, we haven’t done any online business in India. Also, I don’t believe that luxury at this level should be sold online.
What are Indian men buying?
Mostly accessories. It’s not a new trend but it has caught speed recently. There is an increased attention on ties, belts and bags. Indian men are becoming trendy. They have become more brand conscious and spend more and more on accessories these days.
Do you plan to manufacture in India anytime soon?
I don’t think so. Stefano Ricci is known for its Italian heritage. The owner (Stefano Ricci) is very proud of this. It has been one of those rare brands that promote the ‘Made in Italy’ label. I don’t think that except Italy, we will produce anywhere in the world, let alone India.