Longchamp handbags will be available in India this year. Image via Longchamp.
The over $500-million group Longchamp, which is ranked among the top five luxury brands in the world, is looking at opening at least one exclusive boutique in India by the end of this year, a person familiar with the development told TOI.
A senior management team of the retail giant, which is famous for its bags, footwear and leather accessories, is planning to visit India in February this year to explore the market. The company is currently in talks with Franchise India Holdings, which is a franchise and retail solutions providing organisation, to look for potential partners.
However, the company could not be reached for official comments.
Cutting a Deal
"Longchamp has been in talks with us since the last four months to seek an entry in India. The brand is currently studying the luxury market in India and is engaging with companies with significant retail expertise to partner with them," said Gaurav Marya, chairman, Franchise India Holdings. Although its expansion plans are still on the drawing board, sources said the company is keen on having at least six to eight exclusively owned boutiques in India over the next five years.
The brand is currently present in over 100 countries worldwide through 250 exclusive boutiques and 1,000 multi-brand outlets. Despite the government opening the gates for 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in single brand retail in 2011, the company is exploring a joint venture or a master franchise model in the country, the person said.
Globally, the Paris-based group competes with high-end brands such as Prada, Gucci, Armani and Coach. While Armani and Gucci are present though their brand outlets at Delhi's DLF Emporio and in Mumbai, sources said Italian luxury brand Prada too is currently holding talks with several retail majors to open its stores in India.
The Indian retail market, which is pegged at $470 billion, is expected to grow to $675 billion in the next five years with the luxury market itself expected to grow two and a half times its current size to $6.8 billion by 2015, according to management consulting firm Technopak.
Apart from Prada, Italian luxury clothing and accessories brand Versace 19.69 too announced its entry in India earlier this month. Experts say for Longchamp, finding the right partner and the right pricing will be a challenge in India. With travel retail in India booming, the company is actively looking at opening outlets at major airports too, Franchise India said.
Author: Dipti Jain; Source: Times of India
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