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VIP repositions itself as lifestyle brand

Sapna Agarwal, MINT (A Wall Street Journal Partner)
Mumbai, October 15, 2012

VIP Industries Ltd, India’s largest listed luggage company, is positioning itself as a lifestyle brand by diversifying into handbags.

“Forty years ago, there was no branded luggage company in India. VIP created the category,” managing director Radhika Piramal said. “Now with Caprese (handbags), we hope to do the same thing,”

VIP has a 65% share in the branded luggage market that is estimated to be anywhere between Rs.650 crore and Rs.1,000 crore, according to Piramal.

Caprese aims to become a Rs.100 crore brand in five years and hopes to generate revenue equal to VIP’s luggage business within a decade, she said.

The company will also get into complementary categories such as clutches, wallets and leather bags.

“The idea is to be a lifestyle brand,” said Piramal, who took over the business three years ago as managing director. Since then, she has relaunched Skybags as a youth brand with a focus on backpacks and doubled revenue from the segment.

There are more than 200 international fashion and lifestyle brands in India and more are coming, according to Third Eyesight, a retail consultancy.

Lifestyle brands such as Espirit, Guess, Calvin Klien and Tommy Hilfiger sell everything from apparel and watches to handbags and accessories.

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