Image for representational purposes. Image courtesy: Reuters
Traditionally conservative markets like Surat, Chennai and Kolkata are warming up to luxury, opening a wealth of opportunity for brands such as Louis Vuitton, Armani and Burberry beyond Delhi and Mumbai.
In the next six months, people in Surat-home to some of India's richest entrepreneurs in the diamond and textiles trade-will see the entry of half a dozen international labels that include Armani, Burberry, Tumi and Crabtree & Evelyn.
Surat, Chennai and Kolkata Luxury Markets on the Rise
Some 1,500 km away down south, on the eastern cost, curious shoppers in Chennai are checking out the first Louis Vuitton store opened a fortnight ago. "Chennai is a great market, full of possibilities and perspectives," Geoffroy van Raemdonck, Louis Vuitton's south Europe president, says from Milan.
Two new luxury hotels in Chennai are offering space to luxury brands keen to go deeper into the country even as Louis Vuitton has identified its next stop-Kolkata, where businessman Sanjiv Goenka is readying a 7-lakh sq ft mall that has already leased out about 50,000 square feet of space to luxury brands such as Bottega Veneta, Bally, Burberry, Rolex, Porsche Design and Jimmy Choo.
Surat, Chennai and Kolkata have traditionally been conservative markets, with only a few rich buyers spending on the luxury labels. But now these cities are among the emerging hot destinations for luxury as premium global brands seek to reach out to pockets of affluence beyond the big metros.
"There is a nascent market waiting to explode. We think the time has come," says Sanjay Kapoor, managing director of Genesis Luxury, which markets brands such as Armani, Burberry and Canali in India.
Creating a Luxury Space
Genesis has taken up space for half a dozen stores at a luxury mall in Surat being built by Virtuous Retail, a retail real estate asset platform sponsored by the Xander Group Inc. It is also looking for space in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Jaipur because several people from these towns frequent its stores in Delhi and Mumbai.
Clearly, the rich in small towns have more money and desire than ever to spend on high life, and they seem indifferent to the slowdown in economic growth and overall consumer spending.
Three years ago, NCAER's Rajesh Shukla and Future Capital's Roopa Purushothaman had said a report titled Next Urban Frontier, that boomtowns like Surat, Jaipur, Lucknow, Nagpur, Bhopal, Coimbatore and Kanpur have seen the most striking shift in income distribution.
Authors: Vijaya Rathore and Nandini Raghavendra
Source: The Economic Times
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