A few months back, I had the opportunity to meet Francois Henri Pinault, chairman of PPR, the conglomerate that owns the Gucci Group.
As you may know, Gucci Group has several luxury labels under its umbrella such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Bedat & Co, Sergio Rossi, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, etc.In the course of our talks, he mentioned to me that he was impressed with The Emporio mall in Delhi that houses many luxury brands under one roof. Though, to me, it’s somewhat got a Arabian feel to it with its ornate interiors and palm trees, I thought what Francois said was right. After all he is the man who controls half of the world’s luxury brands, so he should know.
The other day I was at the mall and I did a recce once again on all its floors. It seemed that time all the brand boutiques were milling with customers. Plenty of purchases were being made and I could see stylish people with brands’ carry bags walking out of the mall in good numbers. I was told that a lady walked into one of the brand boutiques and bought a pair of heels worth Rs 1.3 lakh and walked out… all in five minutes!
While talking to a couple of store people I got to know that sales are picking up now with the weekends proving to me more lucrative for the brands. The brands had been a bit unhappy over the last few months as they looked at India with a lot of hope when the Europe and the US markets crashed due to recession. The developing markets were the hope for these brands to keep their cash registers ringing.
And a day later, I was invited to a private viewing of some of the most expensive wristwatches from Breguet. Watches the prices of which start at around Rs 16 lakhs and go up to Rs 1.3 crore. There was a particular model with a price tag of about Rs 77 lakh. The Breguet executives told me that around the world there are only a few who go for such expensive watches and they have already got bookings for four of those from India alone.
If, even without India going into a recession (there was only a slowing down of our economy), people applied brakes to their spending, well, they are now beginning to loosen their purse strings once again. We have several dollar millionaires here and luxury brands are eyeing them much more keenly than never before.
From the way brands are opening more stores also shows the fact that they sense the presence of large number of consumers here. Louis Vuitton is opening its second store in Mumbai at the Taj Landsend shortly. Gucci will open its second store in Delhi at The Emporio in December. Versace has opened its store in the same mall recently. More brands are hovering over the Indian retail market with avid interest. It’s only a matter of time before they also set their feet here.
With all the brands and their fancy clothes and accessories setting shops in India, the style conscious Indian elite never had it better when it comes to high-end shopping. And in the coming days it is only going to grow further.