When Hermes opted for a street location to open its largest flagship store in India, in Mumbai, two years ago, it raised eyebrows among the majority of luxury retailers which operate most of their stores within luxury hotel galleries or malls. The higher footfall is certainly in favor of malls, attracting a wider consumer target.
However, India has only three such malls—DLF Emporio in Delhi, Palladium in Mumbai and UB City in Bangalore. Of these, only the first has a predominantly luxury mix. The stagnation of India’s luxury market documented by CPP’s research in 2011 and 2012 has highlighted the continued and motivated absence of several major luxury brands from India’s luxury market: Prada, Ralph Lauren or Max Mara.
In an recent interview, Sanjay Kappor, Managing Director of Genesis Colors Pvt, the owner of Genesis Luxury, which retails Canali, Bottega Veneta, Burberry and Jimmy Choo said “For our portfolio of brands, we have booked spaces in malls that specially cater to luxury brands and once all these locations are operational, most of our business will be housed out of there instead of five-star hotels, where footfalls remain a challenge”. Reliance Brands, the local partner of Zegna, Thomas Pink, Paul & Shark, has also recently confirmed that none of the future openings for brands such as Zegna will be within hotel shopping galleries.
The presently limited potential of India’s luxury market has inhibited, for now, the development of dedicated luxury malls, the feasible leases that retailers can pay being much lower than medium or mass market brands. One such announced projects and among the first to be opened, is developed by Bombay Realty, The Plaza Mumbai in the neighborhood of Worli in Mumbai, has had little impact on attracting major luxury brands which operate directly or any of the major international brands which are not yet present in India to open within their premises.
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