x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Damas to open 100 India stores

The UAE-based jewellery retailer will open outlets in India over the next three years as part of its new joint venture with local partner, Gitanjali Group.

DUBAI // The UAE-based jewellery retailer Damas will open 100 stores in India during the next three years as part of a new joint venture with the retailer Gitanjali Group. Tawhid Abdullah, the managing director of Damas, said he expected these future stores to represent about 20 per cent of the retailer's business. "India as a territory is the largest consumer in the world," Mr Abdullah said. "Where better than this to be?" India was also ranked as the top "window of opportunity" for organised retailers to enter, according to the latest Global Retail Development Index by international management consultancy, AT Kearney. The new venture will open stores under the original Damas brand, and stock only the UAE company's jewellery collections, said P K Dutta, Damas' chief financial officer. Details are still being worked out but Damas expects to open four stores in Mumbai and four shops in Delhi this year. The retailer aims to generate Rs 1,000 Crores (Dh763million) in revenue in three to five years, Mr Dutta said. Under the deal, which was approved by the Indian government on June 9, Damas will own a 51 per cent stake, the maximum allowed by country law. Gitanjali will own the remaining share. Damas has more than 500 stores worldwide and has invested Rs 180 crores into the venture, also the maximum permitted for foreign direct investment. Damas' first created a joint venture with Gitanjali in 2005 for a series of franchise stores under the D'damas brand largely stocked with Gitanjali products. Through the franchising deal, under which the Indian retailer holds 51 per cent, there are about 250 D'damas franchisees throughout India. Gold demand in India, traditionally the largest market for gold and jewellery, fell in the first quarter of this year as consumers were deterred by high gold prices and the weak rupee, according to the World Gold Council. Mr Abdullah said he is not concerned about the economic downturn, and that expects India to be among the first countries to recover. aligaya@thenational.ae