x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Children have designs on luxury at Angels

Fashion-conscious parents are increasingly decking out their offspring in the latest designer gear as luxury sales for little ones are on the up.

Angels, which has nine stores throughout the UAE, sells high-end French, Italian and American designers. Antoine Robertson / The National
Angels, which has nine stores throughout the UAE, sells high-end French, Italian and American designers. Antoine Robertson / The National

Fashion-conscious parents are increasingly decking out their offspring in the latest designer gear as luxury sales for little ones are on the up.

Angels, a designer childrens-wear chain, saw a 30 per cent increase in sales last year, compared with the previous year, as average spending on luxury children's items increased.

"Children in this part of the world get pampered more than others. That's why a concept of this kind is doing so well," said Ravi Rao, the group general manager at the Rivoli Group, the company behind the Angels concept and one of the biggest luxury retailers in the region. "This part of the world, the behaviour patterns for shopping for high end brands is on an increase, that's what we have noticed in our main core business and this is what we have noticed here as well," said Mr Rao.

Angels, which has nine stores in the UAE, sells high-end French, Italian and American designers, including Baby Dior, Burberry, Kenzo Kids, Ferrari and Hugo Boss. Garments in the store start from Dh250 (US$68.06) and go up to Dh2,500, depending on the product and the brand.

"Definitely the locals are in tune with fashion. They travel all over the world … They do tend to be more aware of such things," said Manmeet Padam, the brand manager for Angels. "But we have also observed that Chinese and Russians are also very big buyers of luxury products. That's not only in the clothing for children but across all [luxury purchases]. They are the ones that have got that spending power."

The minimum amount parents tend to spend in an Angels store is about Dh1,000, Ms Padam said.

Mr Rao said the overall luxury market grew last year at about 15 to 20 per cent, below that of sales of designer clothes for children.

Last year, the Chalhoub Group, one of the biggest retailers in the Middle East, set up its own designer childrens-wear brand, called Katakeet, to tap the growing market.

"This particular industry, as we define it, the children's apparel industry, the market is huge," said Mr Rao.

He did not disclose the Angels brand sales last year or its earnings.

The Rivoli Group has a number of designer concepts and is the distributor for many internationally branded products, such as Dior, Mont Blanc and Tommy Hilfiger.

It operates about 300 stores in the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.

"When the market is small, the growth in percentage is huge. There is an increasing need for people to look at quality and high end," said Mr Rao.

He added Angels was looking to expand across the Emirates but it had to be careful in its site selection process because the concept was so exclusive.

The brand is considering adding another store in Abu Dhabi to its current one in Marina Mall and may add one in Jumeirah in Dubai. At present, Angels' flagship stores are in Dubai Mall and at the Atlantis hotel on the Palm Jumeirah.

"We are looking at expansion when the right opportunity comes along," said Ms Padam.

"There are only so many malls that are getting the footfall that is expected for a brand like this and it has to be in the areas where you get the clients who are willing to spend that kind of money."

rjones@thenational.ae

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