Swetha Kannan

Bangalore, April 23 Luxury brand Mont Blanc says it will continue its investments and retail strategy around the world, including India, the global financial crisis notwithstanding.

Mr Karl-Heinze Handke, President – Western Hemisphere and Member of the Executive Board of Mont Blanc International, said, “Of course, we have been impacted globally. During Christmas, which is an important sales period, the crisis was at its peak.

“There was less corporate gifting and so on. But we are not going to be sitting around and crying. We will continue investing and keep opening stores around the world. For instance, we opened our biggest boutique in Dubai in January.”

India will be a key part of the company’s expansion plans. Mont Blanc has 16 boutiques in the country. The boutiques house Mont Blanc’s pens, watches, leather goods and other accessories.

“In India, there is hardly a recession. We are going strong in double digit percentage figures. India is a fast growing market. We will continue to invest here and open boutiques as well,” said Mr Handke.

Mont Blanc will open four more boutiques this year in India in cities such as Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.

Jewellery salon

The company also opened its first jewellery salon worldwide in Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace and Towers recently.

On why Mont Blanc chose India for launching its jewellery salon, Mr Handke said, “We are testing the concept now. While worldwide we have a strong pen history, in India, we are perceived more as a luxury brand. So it was easier to use that brand perception and move onto a jewellery salon in India than elsewhere in the world.”

Mont Blanc plans to open more jewellery salons in Paris, West Asia and South America.

Globally, Mont Blanc has around 350 exclusive boutiques.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 24, 2009)
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