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    Hidesign plans to increase international visibility

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    Indian leather brand plans to open retail stores in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Thailand and Turkey by December, the company’s CEO said.

    The Puducherry-based firm is talking to companies to set up outlets in New Zealand, Thailand and Turkey. The roll-out is expected to happen by the year-end. Further, there are plans to set up a flagship store in the United Kingdom following the recent association with French fashion house . Hidesign already operates in the UK market through tie-ups with department stores and distribution channels.

    Sachdev informed that Hidesign is in talks to sell a 20 per cent stake to Louis Vuitton. The formalities are likely to be completed by December. However, Hidesign will retain its own brand identity and not be the outsourcing destination for LV, even after the stake acquisition comes into effect. Louis Vuitton has one store each in New Delhi and Mumbai at the moment, and is expected to soon open a third in Bangalore.

    The two companies are also floating a 50:50 joint venture company so that Louis Vuitton can set up a manufacturing unit in Puducherry to make its own brand of products.

    Positioned as stylish, yet at the affordable end of the luxury spectrum, Hidesign currently has 38 stores in India and 15 overseas, including Russia, China, South Africa and the Middle-East.

    “We plan to increase the number of stores in India to about 60, and overseas to 43 or 44 over the next 18 months,” Sachdev said. Fifteen more stores are planned for China alone.

    The company has design studios in Milan, London and Puducherry, and plans to open one in Hong Kong.

    Founded in 1978, Hidesign currently makes about 24,000 bags and 38,000 wallets per month, and means to expand capacity by 50 per cent over the next 18 months. The company recorded a turnover of Rs 100 crore for the year ending March 31, 2007.