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Bulgari plans Russian expansion

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

27 May 2016

Retail

A devaluation of the Russian rouble and governmental sanctions are not enough to keep luxury retailers out of the former Soviet Union.

After Hermès tripped its retail floor space in Moscow, LVMH’s luxury jewellery brand Bulgari plans to open up to four more stores in Russia over the next 10 years, betting on the long-term prospects of its luxury market.

Bulgari chief executive Jean-Christophe Babin told Reuters the company's two Moscow stores opened so far were "a minimum" even though some customers had become more cautious because of the weaker rouble.

"Perhaps 10 years down the road we will have five-six boutiques in Russia: three [in] Moscow [or] four, perhaps; one in St Petersburg; and one or two in two other cities," he said at the company's second Russian store in central Moscow.

"It might be faster, it might be slower, but probably we will have in Russia eventually the same number of boutiques we have in most ... major European countries," Babin said.

Bulgari, whose brand ambassador is former French first lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy, opened its first boutique in Russia in December in the landmark Gum shopping centre on Red Square, having previously worked in Russia through a partner.

Babin said the company was looking for Chinese speakers to work in its Moscow stores as the number of high-spending Chinese visitors has increased.

Bulgari currently operates 300 stores worldwide and plans to add around 12 stores in 2016, Babin said in April.

Image:Bulgari campaign

BULGARI
Russia