Bulgari to re-enter India, along with De Beers

Asmi Diamonds line by Gitanjali Group

“Jewellery will come, I don’t know when, but in the short term,” said Franck Dardenne, newly appointed general manager for the Indian business in a interview with Mint/WSJ.

Bulgari has a limited retail presence in six cities in India through distributors. Bulgari’s only mono-brand store in Mumbai closed last year, following disappointing resuts. Following the acquisition of Bulgari by giant LVMH, the global transition is under way and plans for the India business will be in place soon, said Dardenne.

LVMH may also introduce products from joint venture De Beers diamond jewellers in India. The joint venture with De Beers SA, operational since 2001, launched its first store in China in May last year. It’s reportedly looking at emerging markets for growth in Asia. The De Beers group has a wholly owned subsidiary in India that launched diamond brand Forevermark in January 2011 in Bangalore.

LVMH is also betting on the larger Indian consumption story. It will review operations once there is clarity on conditions attached to foreign direct investment (FDI) in single-brand retail, such as sourcing goods from small and medium enterprises. Earlier this year, the Indian government allowed 100% FDI in single-brand retail with conditions.

Despite the size of India’s luxury jewellery market, Indian wealthy consumers remain deeply connected to local jewellery manufacturers, which can produce pieces of identical quality with Western brands but at a fraction price. Bulgari’s direct competitor has two mono-brand stores in India, both underperforming in comparison with market size.

adapted from Mint/WJS and data from CPP