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Damiani eyes expansion in Asia, Middle East
 
BASEL, March 20, 2010 - Italian luxury jeweller Damiani is looking to expand in Asia, notably in the fast-growing Chinese and Indian markets, the Middle East and eastern Europe, Giorgio Damiani, Vice President of the group, said.

 
 Giorgio Damiani
"There is very strong demand for luxury brands in China," Giorgio Damiani told Jewellery Outlook in an interview at the Damiani booth at Baselworld 2010.

Milan-based Damiani is currently looking for a local partner for a possible future investment in China, and was seeking to add a flagship store in India, most likely in Mumbai or New Delhi, he added.

"India has a huge tradition in terms of appreciation of jewellery."

Giorgio Damiani said Damiani was looking for suitable expansion opportunities across the world, but was focused mainly on Asia, the Middle East and eastern Europe, while Western Europe was already well catered for.

"We have flagship boutiques on Bond Street (London), Place Vendome (Paris) and Via Montenapoleone (Milan). Europe is not our priority (for expansion)."

Underscoring the focus on Asia and the Middle East, Damiani opened a boutique in Singapore a few weeks ago, and has plans to open a retail outlet in Beirut soon.

Sales in the Middle East are holding up well despite the global economic downturn, but turnover at the Damiani boutique in The Dubai Mall, the largest shopping and entertainment centre in the world, has been impacted by the Dubai debt crisis, Giorgio Damiani said.

Economic conditions are improving in eastern Europe, auguring for market opportunities there.

"Moscow is coming back. Damiani is very strong in Russia," Giorgio Damiani said.

CELEBRITIES PROMOTE DAMIANI

Damiani believes its use of celebrities has had a positive effect on its global marketing strategy.

The involvement of Hollywood actress Sharon Stone with Damiani has worked because she wears fabulous jewels easily and loves diamonds, highlighting the upmarket status of Damiani.

Sophia Loren helps to give Damiani its Italian resonance.

"Sophia Loren is the icon of Italian style in the world," Giorgio Damiani said.

Damiani has high hopes for its licensing agreements to make jewellery for iconic brands Ferrari, Maserati and Ducati.

"The licensing agreements are a big opportunity for us," Giorgio Damiani said.

Baselworld, a leading watches and jewellery trade fair, runs from March 18 to 25.



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