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Jan, 01 2007

Samsonite plans expansion with new products & stores

Under the new chief executive officer Marcello Bottoli, Samsonite has redefined its core competencies and is now focusing on product categories other than luggage.

By February 2007, Samsonite is expected to launch a range of shoes, which will be 'comfortable business-travel shoes'. The Samsonite stores are in the process of being restructured, and about 50 per cent floor space would be dedicated to footwear and other accessories that the company will be launching. The new products that will be launched under the Samsonite brand will be linked to travel. The company has also tied up with international designers for certain product lines and will be announcing a similar association with an Indian designer as well. The company will be investing close to Rs 50 crore into retail expansion in India over the next one year. Currently, about 85 per cent of the company's sales come from exclusive outlets. While the number of Samsonite exclusive outlets is slated to go up from 174 to 200 by December 2007, the high-end Black Label stores will go up from six to 14. The Black Label stores will be a mix of company-owned and franchise outlets. It will also be looking at tapping a larger consumer base by entering 16 new cities in addition to the 14 where it is already present, mainly state capitals and B-class cities. The Rs 350-crore branded luggage market has been growing at about 15 per cent for the last two years.

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