Gucci much-loved in India'

World's leading luxury goods maker Gucci is looking to multiplying its presence in the country by 2010 as it plans to develop India as a key global market.
The company forayed India late last year. Today, it has two stores in the country. Gucci’s plan is to end the year with four stores. And, in three years, it may double the number.  “We are quiet interested in India, which is an emerging market with a gifting culture and a lot of awareness among the sophisticated customers. Step by step, we intend to build India a key market. By 2008-end, Gucci will have four stores in India," Gucci CEO Mark Lee said. He also said that, besides the two existing outlets (one in Mumbai and the other in Delhi), the company in partnership with the Mumbai-based Murjani Group will open a third store in Delhi and a fourth one in Bangalore this year itself.

Murjani Group, the master franchisee of Gucci in India, will be opening the other two stores. "The plan is to double the number of stores that we will be having in 2008.” Asked about the investments, Murjani, without disclosing specific details, said, "There is a substantial amount of investment, which has already been made and will be made in future. But, it will be less than $ 100 million ( approximately Rs 400 million)" He said that there will be, by 2010,  at least eight Gucci outlets housing collections of men's and women's ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, watches, sunglasses, jewellery, small leather goods, gifting items and other accessories in major metros.

Globally, the Gucci brand, which is associated with handbags and watches, sells high-quality luxury goods through directly operated stores, franchised stores, boutiques, duty-free shops and departmental stores. The Murjani group, headquartered in New York, has been instrumental in developing and launching some of the most well-recognised international designer lifestyle brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Gloria Vanderbilt. The Group will focus primarily on creating a multi-brand platform in India.



Interview with Mark Lee, CEO, Gucci

Attractiveness of present day luxury brands is making a lot of money pumped into emerging markets like India. Mark Lee, during a brief interaction with the Retailer, says that India has the highest percentage of customers who prefer Gucci to other brands


Retailer: How do you see the luxury retail market in India?

Mark Lee (ML): Last year, we had an opportunity to enter Indian luxury market. It is the beginning for us in India. At present, Gucci has two outlets, one each in Mumbai and Delhi. We will open the third store in Delhi and the fourth in Bangalore this year itself.


Retailer: How do you see India’s demand for luxury goods in comparison to other emerging global markets?

ML: Gucci is the most coveted brand in the world. Worldwide, every fifth consumer said that money would be no ‘object’ and he would go for Gucci. And, the highest number of persons who chose Gucci belong to India.  


Retailer: How do you see Gucci’s development in India?

ML:  In the current financial year, Gucci plans to open at least four new stores. Gucci is 87 years old brand and India, of course, has incredible history. It is a question of putting these two values together and letting them mature or grow fully. All of our products are made in Italy. And, Indian customers want to have the same Gucci experience in terms of quality, product, design and service as delivered in other stores around the world.


Retailer: What is the size of Gucci stores in India?

ML: Gucci’s Mumbai store, which is 350 sq.mts, is the largest single luxury goods store in the Indian market. It is a full range store that offers all of our products like leather goods, footwear and ready-to-wear menswear and women wear. The size of Delhi store is quite small.


Retailer: How many new stores are coming up in the next five years?

ML: We plan to have a few more new Gucci outlets in major metros. These stores will offer men's and women's ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, watches and other accessories.


Retailer: What is the range of products offered?

ML: Gucci’s main business, which represents 54 per cent of all its business, deals in leather goods. Besides this, there is tremendous scope and success of footwear and ready to wear clothing. In the last three years, Gucci have grown the brand by 46 per cent. In 2007, leather goods grew over nine per cent while footwear and ready-to-wear is growing in the range of 20 per cent.


Retailer:  What is the scale of Gucci in terms of revenue?

ML: On a global basis, Gucci’s revenue reached almost 2.2 billion euros (approximately Rs 138.6 billion) and 70 per cent of the revenue comes from stores that we own and operate ourselves.


Retailer: What do you think about ‘real estate’ in emerging markets like India?

ML: I think the real estate is the top challenge. As the Nielsen study has proved that 41 per cent of Indians would choose Gucci, there is awareness about the Gucci brand. It is less about problems and more about opportunities. We’re quite excited about medium and long range potential and we plan to develop step by step in the Indian market.


Retailer: Are you also looking to incorporate any of traditional Indian wear in your collection?

ML: At present, we have not incorporated any of them. But, we are talking about turbans and some of the local garments and, for the time being, we leave this as an open thought.

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