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DLF Brands quits luxury sector

India’s DLF Brands, which runs high-street fashion brands mall Emporio in Delhi, is quitting the luxury business.

It has just shut down two of the seven stores of US fashion brand DKNY after parting ways earlier with such brands such as Giorgio Armani, Mango, Salvatore Ferragamo and Sephora.

“We don’t have any plans to open more DKNY stores,” says DLG Brands MD Timmy Sarna. “And we don’t want to be in the high-fashion business. It’s difficult to scale up that business because there aren’t too many locations in the country where you can sell luxury.”

Instead, DLF Brands, the retail arm of real-estate company DLF, wants to focus on mass brands. “We have profitable businesses in Kiko, Mothercare and Sunglass Hut,” says Sarna.

DLF Brands has bought the franchise rights of UK-based Mothercare for 15 years, and plans to launch smaller stores, even in community-based markets, selling value-added products.

“From 109 stores at present, we want to increase the number to 300. A major part of production is happening here now, so prices will eventually come down,” Sarna says. “Apart from this, our other brands such as Sunglass Hut, Claire’s and make-up brand Kiko are doing extremely well and are profitable.”

DLF Brands started its exit from the luxury market in 2012, quitting its joint ventures with Ferragamo and Giorgio Armani. In 2014, it shut down stores of Italian menswear brand Boggi Milano, then last year parted with LVMH’s make-up and skincare brand Sephora, which was taken over by Arvind Lifestyle Brands.

“You can either be in the fashion business or in the mass-brand business. You cannot have your finger in too many pies,” says Sarna.

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