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Paris Hilton Heads to India

The brand's bags and accessories will be launched in India this month with an ambitious growth plan.

NEW DELHI — Paris Hilton bags and accessories will be launched in India this month, with an ambitious growth plan for shop-in-shops with Shoppers Top, the country’s largest department store chain, as well as stand-alone stores.

Brand Concepts, the Indore-based licensee that is bringing Hilton handbags and accessories to India, said the celebrity will be in Mumbai to launch the first store. Consultancy firm Technopak estimates the fashion accessories market in India is worth roughly $1.5 billion a year, although branded fashion accessories account for only about 15 percent of the market.

That Brand Concepts is headquartered in Indore, a smaller city in western India with a population of 25 million, speaks about the reach of international brands, which have fast become aspirational in smaller towns.

Abhinav Kumar, chief executive officer of Brand Concepts, said the accessories category, which has been growing at more than 35 percent a year, has become “the first point of aspiration for upwardly mobile consumers. In a market where the middle class of more than 400 million people is fast getting educated on brand value, these are numbers to be taken seriously,” he said.

The shop-in-shops in Shoppers Top would be 200 to 250 square feet, but the plan is to roll out the brand with other retailers as well, plus in a standalone format. Kumar said the company would open 50 to 60 stand-alone Paris Hilton accessories stores over the next five years. Some of these would be in a larger format; for example, this month the company will open a 2,000-square-foot shop in New Delhi, which will have Tommy Hilfiger travel products on one floor and accessories from Paris Hilton and Indian designer Rocky S on another, all labels that Brand Concepts distributes. It also operates more than 16 Tommy Hilfiger travel products stores and distributes small leather goods from Arrow.

“In the licensing business, one of the trickiest is the celebrity brand,” said Kumar. “Britney Spears was among the top five for some time and look where she is now. But we have done a lot of research into the brand recall of Paris Hilton and are astonished by what we find. So many people know her brand and like her that I believe that businesswise, her brand is going to do great in India.”

The upper premium target market for accessories is not dominated by many brands, with Guess being the main competition. Prices, which would average about 7,000 rupees, or about $150 at current exchange, and the target age group of 18- to 30-year-olds, are both slightly higher than the brand’s international audience.

 

Price points for the line will range from $43 to $240 in India.

While Brand Concepts will initially distribute handbags and accessories, the company has plans to bring Paris Hilton apparel and fragrance to the Indian market. Paris Hilton fragrance was earlier distributed in India but has been discontinued in recent years.

Paris Hilton accessories are available in 35 countries.