Guwahati-- the new luxury destination
Guwahati-- the gateway city to Northeast India is fast turning into a hot destination for international luxury brands, services and assets.
This fact was highlighted in the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)-AT Kearney Indian Luxury Review report released last month. While focussing on car brands with more than 50 per cent of their dealerships outside the metros, it said Guwahati was a potential destination of luxury products as well as services and assets.
Multinational automobile giant Volkswagen, which debuted in the city this year, said it was already selling more than 40 cars a month — a sales figure which is a pointer to the fact that the city is growing in terms of demand and a taste for luxury.
The report also said the luxury market in India was gaining increasing visibility with each passing year. “While the ‘buzz’ generated by this sector is disproportionately high compared to the size of the market today, it does indicate that most global luxury brands recognise the potential of India’s luxury market. Giv-en the high growth rate of the Indian market compared to mature economies, it is only likely that interest in the Indian market will increase in the days ahead,” it added.
The country’s luxury market witnessed a robust growth of 20 per cent in the past year and is estimated to have reached $5.75 billion in 2010.
Another pointer to its growing desirability of the city in particular and the region as a whole is upcoming five star hotels to be set up by hospitality majors like Taj, Hyatt and Marriot groups in different parts of Assam and Meghayala.
In keeping with this trend, Sohum Shoppe Limited, a leading multi-brand retail chain of the region, is opening the Sohum Emporio — a multi-brand mall. The mall, which is coming up on the GS Road, is scheduled to open for customers on November 19 and will have company outlets of 48 top national and international brands under on roof.
Sohum Shoppe CEO Siddarth Jalan said the company had made a proper survey of brands to shortlist the hot-selling ones. “The best part was that we were recognised. When we approached people to open outlets here, they knew of Sohum, which was a plus point,” he said.
“The Northeast is a fashion-oriented market and dressing sense of the people here is better than many others. This gives us hope that there is market for luxury products. We are bringing in products which would sell in the Guwahati market,” Jalan said.
He said the company was looking at Rs 10-crore turnover in the first year and there were plans to enter Shillong later.
Some of the brands that would be on display are Body Shop, Tommy Hilfiger, FCUK, Calvin Klein, Swarovski, Veromoda, Jack and Jones, Esprit, Gant, Mothercare and Nike.
A senior official of Jack and Jones India said Guwahati was a place where brands could come up in a big way. “If we do not have brands in the market, how do we know the strengths of the market,” the official said, adding that the Sohum Emporio outlet would be the company’s first in Guwahati.
“We also look at the brand mix where we set up our outlets,” the official added.
Amit Dhanjani, marketing head of GAS India, a premium jeans brand, hoped it would be a good debut in Guwahati.
Tommy Hilfiger, a market leader in the highly competitive premium imported designer apparel sector, also has a showroom in the mall.
Tommy Hilfiger India CEO Shailesh Chaturvedi said they were excited to make their debut in Guwahati and hoped to do well. “A lot of customers from Guwahati are buying our brand in other places and when it is available in Guwahati, the response should be good. We have been doing extremely well in non-metro cities,” he said.
The apparel brand was launched in India in 2004.