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Home > Business > Special

Luxury malls to hit India soon

Ravi Teja Sharma | March 31, 2007

With all that money floating around to be spent, luxury seems to be the buzzword today. According to an estimate, 200-300 international luxury brands are trying to make an entry into India. As of now, the luxury market is worth Rs 2,400 crore (Rs 24 billion) and continues to grow at 30-32 per cent. It is expected to climb up to Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion) by 2010.

But even as the market prepares to welcome these foreign brands, a need is being felt to create single-roof shelters to house these brands. Sensing the demand, over 600 new malls are being developed across the country and each one of them is trying its best to get old and new luxury brands to set shop with them.

Gitanjali Group is one such company that is planning a string of malls across the country. The group, incidentally, is one of the big names in branded jewellery in India.

To begin with, the group plans to open its first luxury mall in Hyderabad followed by similar malls in seven other cities, namely, Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Chandigarh and Chennai. According to the group, these malls are to be high-end wedding and luxury malls.

The recent past has seen a number of luxury marketing companies spring up, such as the Luxury Marketing Council and World Luxury Council. Gitanjali Group has also launched a similar venture called Luxury Connexions.

"It will be an interface between luxury retail business in India and the new international brands wanting to come in," says Gaurav Marya, chief executive officer, Luxury Connexions. Designer Ritu Beri is chief advisor for Luxury Connexions.

The company will offer advisory services, organise events, financial and legal consultancy to international brands wanting to set up shop in India.

According to Shashank Pathak, vice-president (luxury malls), Gitanjali Group, the international luxury brands are scattered across different malls and five-star hotels in India. "The luxury malls will bring all these different brands under one roof and offer a different experience to the shoppers," says Pathak.

The size of these luxury malls will range from 20,000-75,000 sq ft and these would be either standalone or a part of a larger mall. In Hyderabad, the luxury mall has been planned as a part of a larger 200,000 sq ft mall on posh Banjara Hills. The luxury mall here will be spread across 45,000 sq ft.

Apart from a luxury shopping experience, the mall offers a one-stop shop for weddings. According to Pathak, the mall will house a central wedding planner who will have other sub-brands under him.

So those looking for help while planning a wedding can talk to the planner and get help to choose from five top caterers, different venues, entertainment options, jewellery stores, trousseau, lighting, event management and even honeymoon and cruise planning.

But while the group has ambitious plans, they don't want to get anything wrong. "We are conducting surveys in major markets to figure out what luxury really means to that city - figure out existing buying patterns and the fashion quotient of the city," explains Pathak. "We can't afford to get it wrong in Delhi and Mumbai," he adds.

Presently in Delhi, Square One mall in Saket that is to house several international and national luxury brands is just about ready, and more such players are likely to hit the market soon, including DLF Emporio and Promenade. Now, how far the concept catches up, remains to be seen.

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