Saks Fifth Avenue executives were said to be in India last month to explore the possibility of expanding into the country.
A Saks Fifth Avenue spokesman said, “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation.”
Saks would likely partner with a local operator on a licensed store, as it has done in other countries. But it is believed that Saks is not close to any deal in India, which may or may not happen. The retailer has begun reaching out to various international brands to see if they would be interested in selling at a possible Saks in India.
Saks has slowly expanded internationally to a few countries in the past two decades, most recently in Canada last year where the retailer operates two company-owned stores in Toronto. There is also a company-owned Saks Fifth Avenue store in Puerto Rico; two licensed Saks stores in Mexico; one licensed Saks unit in Kazakhstan, and a licensed Saks store in Bahrain. Saks closed a few stores in Riyadh and Dubai in the Middle East over the last few years. A decade ago, Saks came close to opening a store in Shanghai. There are also nine Saks Off 5th outlet stores in Canada that are all company-owned.
Reports that Saks was in talks with Aditya Birla Fashion Retail Ltd. to open two stores in India spread through various media outlets in the country last month. According to the reports, one Saks could open in Aerocity, near the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. Another could open in an upcoming retail project in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex business district.
Saks would be the first multibrand luxury retailer to enter the country. Saks officials have visited India in 2014 and in prior years to explore possibilities.
Aditya Birla Fashion Retail’s business includes the Madura Fashion division which sells such brands as Van Heusen, Louis Phillipe, Peter England and Allen Solly through brand stores and department stores.
Aditya also operates the Pantaloons department store chain and the Collective retail chain, which is considered a luxury retailer. Aditya Birla Fashion is one of India’s largest conglomerates with an international reach.
Saks Fifth Avenue is owned by the Hudson’s Bay Co., which also owns the Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor, Saks Off 5th, Galeria Kaufhof, Galeria Inno, Sportarena, Home Outfitters and Gilt.