LONDON — Bally will break into the Indian market this fall via a franchise agreement with Bird Group, according to company principals. An announcement is expected today.

This story first appeared in the July 22, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The Swiss leather goods brand will open its first store in New Delhi, at the DLF Emporio mall, in September. The store will span 1,000 square feet and carry the full range of Bally men’s and women’s accessories. A second store, of similar size, is planned for Mumbai.

Bally chief executive officer Berndt Hauptkorn told WWD it’s the right time to move into India. “Although we do not have any sales points there, the luxury customer knows us very well from shopping abroad. We don’t need to build brand recognition in the market,” he said.

Other stores across India would follow, he said, but nothing is confirmed yet. “We want to make sure we have the right stores in the right locations. We are not in a hurry, and are building this brand for the next generation,” he said.

Bird Group is one of India’s largest diversified groups and operates in the retail, hospitality and travel sectors. It also has strategic and retail partnerships with brands including BMW, Porsche Design and The Royal Park Hotel.

“Bally is well-known in India, given its vast legacy, and it already has a loyal set of followers,” said Ankur Bhatia, executive director of the Bird Group. “I am very confident [we] will further enhance the brand image and create a market winner in the Indian luxury retail space.”

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