Last week, I missed the launch of Gucci’s first store in India because I had to rush off to Bangalore on a work trip. But a little birdie told me the brand had already clocked decent evening wear sales ahead of the launch thanks to Vogue’s launch party in Jodhpur, the engagement party of a Mumbai-based industrialist’s daughter (hint: his company has announced plans to delist its stock) and the Gucci launch itself.

I recently read in Mint that sales hadn’t even slowed during the traditional shradh period that ended last week. Apparently, we can’t get enough of shopping.

FHM will be out this festive season

The cars, electronics companies and cellphone makers have already outlined their festival strategies. Biggies Sony and Hyundai have announced festive packages, others such as LG Electronics say they will offer better products, but no discounts.

The flood of new launches has also begun. Three that caught my attention last week were Baron’s Strong Brew, TechnoMarine watches and a couple of luxury convertibles from Bentley.

By year-end, we will also see the launch of Rolling Stone and FHM (two of my favourite magazines).

“I think this Diwali will be much, much better than last year. There’s a lot of money in the market," says Haresh Chainani, CEO of Ganga Watches Pvt. Ltd. that will distribute TechnoMarine. Chainani, who distributes half a dozen international watch brands, believes consumers now buy watches that range from Rs2,000 to Rs25 lakh “without hesitating".

Bentley, which launched the Bentley Azure for Rs3.8 crore and Bentley Continental GTC for Rs2.10 crore (ex-showroom New Delhi), plans to sell around 25 cars a year.

Satya Bagla, the managing director of Exclusive Motors, Bentley’s India partner, says super luxury car buyers now display more confidence in owning one of these handcrafted beauties.

But then, a friend who has spent some time interacting with the retail world in the process of helping a global high street brand set up shop says that many international clothing brands are bleeding. Over the past few days, I did the rounds of several such stores and I didn’t see more than one or two shoppers anywhere. In one near-empty store, I counted nine salesgirls. And don’t forget, earlier this month, Marks & Spencer slashed its apparel prices by 35% in India. I’ve heard that one more clothing brand might follow soon.

Think about it.

And in the true festive spirit of things, our favourite new launch has made it to this week’s Lounge cover. Turn to Page12 for the story.

Bruce Springsteen may not be Pink Floyd or Led Zepp. But he is a sexy man with a sexy voice who looks so sexy in jeans.

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