Bulgari eyes India for second coming

Kirtika Suneja Posted online: Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 0000 hrs
New Delhi : Italian luxury brand Bulgari has approached the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) to set up single-brand retail stores in the country.

If allowed, this would mark the firm's second entry into India after it ended its seven-year partnership with Mumbai-based Dia Group's sister concern Lifestyle Tradelinks India in 2011.

According to an official in the know of the company's proposal, it plans to invest a 'modest' amount of close to Rs 5 crore in the country post the relaxations in foreign direct investment (FDI) norms for single-brand retail.

Bulgari is the parent company and the owner of the BVLGARI brand. It operates in the world with 41 companies in 24 countries with an international distribution network of 295 stores, of which 174 are owned.

The seller of pricey jewellery, watches, leather goods and accessories had exited India in April 2011 after ending a seven-year tie-up with a Mumbai-based firm to run single-brand stores. “Bulgari is one of the most successful luxury brands and it doesn't have to start by opening many stores. It may want to test the market with a one or two stores initially and scale it up later,” said Arvind Singhal, chairman and managing director of advisory firm Technopak .

Globally, the jewels, watches and accessories division contributes 74% to the company's revenues while the share of perfumes and skincare is 23%.

Among geographies, Asia contributes 45.5% of which Japan's share is 18.5% and rest of Asia's 27%. Singhal added that the company may not need an Indian partner to enter as it is starting with only a few stores like many more luxury brands who want to set shop here.

The single-brand retail space has become more active after the government permitted 100% FDI. Besides, foreign investors can now invest up to 49% via the automatic route. However, additional products sold under the single brand will need a fresh approval from the government.