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“India is very value driven market and gradually moving towards ‘bride to luxury’”: Sunaina Kwatra

In an exclusive conversation Sunaina Kwatra, Country Manager, Louis Vuitton India Retail Pvt. Ltd sheds light on brand’s journey so far.

Tags: Louis Vuitton, LV, Kade Spade, Ted Baker, Cath Kidston, luxury retailing

BY Shipra Srivastava  |  December 02, 2017  |  comments ( 0 )  | 

Sunaina Kwatra

Louis Vuitton is one of the world's leading international fashion houses and the world's most valuable luxury brand. The brand has a huge legacy behind it and is operational to Indian market for a while now. In an exclusive conversation with Sunaina Kwatra, Country Manager, Louis Vuitton India Retail Pvt. Ltd sheds light on brand’s journey so far. Kwatra was present at recently concluded CII National Retail Summit 2017. At the event sidelines she exclusively spoke with Interview excerpts..

How would you sum up the journey of Louis Vuitton (LV) in India so far? Do you think Indian market is exponentially rising for luxury brands?

So far our journey has been incredible; it is just beginning for us. Presently, we have three stores and we are already in the process of expanding our store located at Emporio mall, same time, we are very bullish to further grow our business in Mumbai. Also, now are looking to go online that would be the extension to our brick and mortar retail.

I think luxury market is growing, but India is very different market so what has happened in China would not happen here at least in next five years.

Of late, Indian market has witnessed the contain burgeon of ‘bridge to luxury’ brands such as Kade Spade, Ted Baker, Cath Kidston etc and many more , but hard core luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton are not coming to India. According to you what are the challenges for uber luxury brands? Also, Louis Vuitton has not expanded with all categories here yet. What is the reason behind?

First of all we are expanding our entire portfolio, vary shortly you will see all categories at our DLF Emporio store. Only ‘ready to wear’ category was not introduced to Indian market so far, but by next year entire range will be available to our patrons.

No doubt,’ bridge to luxury’ is growing at exponential rate here.  India is very value driven market and gradually moving towards ‘bride to luxury’ and luxury might be the next category which will see the growth.  Quality retail real estate is one of the biggest deterrent that is the reason many luxury brands are opting online route foray this market. Also, brands which have not entered yet are doing water testing exercise with online channel.  Brick and mortar retail could be the next step after gaining the positive assurance.

Which is your best performing category in Indian market so far?

‘Leather goods’ is the category which does very good for us.

Do you think GST is yet another constraint for luxury retailing?

On the long term it is great for us because it will allow us to do the business across India in better manner. The GST rate has just come down to 18% from 28% which is again a very positive move. However, there might be few repercussions initially but in long terms it is a very positive step.

 Louis Vuitton is one of the five companies which were allowed 100% FDI in the month of October this year, so this will allow us to ho omni-channel. So, many positive things are happening and we are very happy about it.

Fake luxury is a very big challenge for any luxury brands here. What Louis Vuitton is doing to deal with the same?

We have a department within the company that helps us enforce the closers. We have recently disclosed a factory in Ludhiana as well. We will continue to do so in order to stop this practice and buy genuine Louis Vuitton products.

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