Luciano Benetton, chairman, Benetton Group, said the response to their brand has been encouraging and satisfactory which is why they are looking at expanding their presence, as well as product lines in India, with Sisley being the next brand they plan to bring in.
He was unwilling to divulge when exactly though. "After the major metros, we are now looking at the smaller cities. In addition to the existing 53 stores we will be adding 18-22 more next year," he says.
In keeping with the rising growth of retailing in the country, majority of the stores will be located in malls, with a few standalone brand stores.
Although unwilling to disclose how well their India business is doing, he does say that it has grown 30 per cent this year over the previous year.
Saying it is unfair to evaluate India's contribution to its euro 1.9 billion turnover, as India has just about 50 of the 5,000 Benetton stores worldwide, Benetton does say thatIndia as a market holds great potential for the future and that right now the focus is on the market and not on numbers.
Thepositive response to the accessories line has been encouraging, says Benetton, with the handbags and fashion accessories being sold out within a few weeks. This has prompted the company to pay more attention to their India operations.
"Wehave not been perfectly organised on this front in India as of now, but seeing the response we will be bringing in more products which compliment our existing lines. Looking ahead, accessories can represent an important part of our growth in India," says Benetton.
Thelast few years has seen the company open bigger stores, more in line with the format used globally, as well as shut down some of the smaller stores that didn't fit in with their international model.
Benettonsays breaking away from its JV partner, the DCM group, has made a difference. Though he says the company couldn't have made it without a partner. That may be true, but also it cannot be denied that the turnaround happened after it became a fully-owned company.