25 June 2013
the $2-billion jewellery-to-watch retailer of the Tatas, is readying a big push into the small but high-growth Indian fragrance market under the brand Skin, a move that possibly signals a broader interest in the personal care industry.
Bangalore-based Titan, best known for eponymous watches and Tanishq jewels, will employ a new trademark, Skin, to launch fragrances priced at Rs 995 and Rs 1,995 as part of a business diversification, said people briefed on the matter. The company has explored multiple new business forays to reduce dependence on jewellery retailing, which accounts for 80% of the revenue currently.
Titan has been under pressure after RBI mandated upfront cash payment for gold imports replacing a 6 month credit period jewellers had until now. Brokerages downgraded the stock citing the company would borrow to fund higher working capital requirements. The stock lost about 33% market value in recent weeks of mayhem.
India's biggest jewellers' association has asked members to stop selling gold bars and coins, about 35 percent of their business, adding its weight to government efforts to cut gold imports and stem a swelling current account deficit.
The call by the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation (AIGJTF), which represents about 90 percent of jewellers, comes just days after financial services company Reliance Capital halted sales of its gold-backed funds.
"As a responsible trade body, we have requested our retailers not to sell gold coins or bars. We need to help the government to solve the CAD (current account deficit) problem," said Haresh Soni, chairman of the AIGJTF, which has more than 40,000 members.
India is the world's biggest gold buyer, and soaring imports have sent its current account to a record deficit. New Delhi has raised the import duty on gold twice since Jan. 1, doubling it to 8 percent, and the central bank has imposed measures forcing customers to pay up front for gold.
By Siddesh Mayenkar (Reuters)