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Gautier, a French manufacturer of fine furniture, will once again sell in India

French premium furniture maker and retailer Gautier is going to re-enter India in its third such attempt, although this time it will go solo after it had exited the country twice earlier when it was operating through joint venture (JV).

The company will set up stores over 3,000-5,000 square feet across metroes and large cities, primarily in the South to begin with. While at present it will import all furniture from France, there are plans to set up a manufacturing line as the India business scales up.

“Gautier is re-entering India. While initially it is exploring franchisee routes to set up a couple of stores with local partners, eventually it may take the equity route. The brand is still strong in India. It will also directly sell online like Ikea and Apple does,” said Gaurav Marya, chairman and founder of Franchise India Group, a retail consultancy aiding Gautier’s re-entry.

India allows 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail through the automatic route for single brand retailers and manufacturers. World’s largest furniture retailer Ikea has operations in India through the FDI route, while Apple too is going to inaugurate two of its company-owned stores next week in India through the same route.

Gautier had originally entered India in late 90s through a collaboration with K K Birla group and had even set up a factory in the country. In 2003, the contract ended and Gautier exited India. In 2007, Gautier re-entered the country in partnership with Ebony Retail and both the companies had announced plans to invest Rs 120 crore together to set up 20 stores. However, this JV too failed.

“The JV route has its challenges which Gautier has realized. Hence, it is keen to go solo this time. Most premium homes in India have the brand and hence rebuilding the business will be relatively easy. Gautier has also been successful in the Gulf with most buyers are of Indian origin which attracted them for a re-entry,” said Marya.

Gautier in its latest entry will sell premium and bridge segment furniture and home décor. The size of the furniture and home décor market in India is around $25-billion, of which around 14-15% is organized.

Marya said India has become an attractive market for European companies with their overseas expansion and business hit due to the Russia-Ukraine war and recession in most European nations.



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