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Published
Apr 21, 2022
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Reliance Brands sees shoppers trade up to affordable luxury

Published
Apr 21, 2022

Apparel business Reliance Brands has seen its customers move towards affordable luxury and first-time luxury purchases following the pandemic and this strong demand is continuing despite inflation. 

Reliance Brands’ president and CEO Darshan Mehta, left - Reliance Brands - Facebook


“The trend is towards trading up to affordable luxury and the trend of first-time luxury buying is the strongest that I have seen in the last 10 years,” Reliance Brands’ president and CEO Darshan Mehta told ET Now in an interview. “I thought it would be good if we just recouped the 2019 numbers, but we are way beyond that. So, at the higher end, there is clearly a tendency to trade up.”
 
This trend for affordable luxury purchases mirrors Reliance Brands’ move to acquire stakes in luxury fashion houses and launch more affordable lines. The business has invested in Manish Malhotra and most recently in Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla. 

Inflation has risen swiftly this year due to global challenges and many retailers worry that this will reduct consumer spending. However, Reliance Brands has not seen any negative effects, according to  Mehta. 
 
“In the last six, seven weeks starting from last week of February, early March till as late as last weekend, I have never seen a stronger traction across our portfolio brands, not just at the very high end where we virtually own the market but even if I look at children as a category, parenting and grand-parenting as a category through Hamleys and Mothercare kind of brands, it is possibly one of the strongest demand patterns consistent with not just long weekends like we had last weekend but even across regular weekends and normal weekdays, which are a big indication of how strong the demand patterns,” said Mehta. 
 
The business has seen luxury shopping surpass pre-pandemic 2019 figures and is hopeful this trend will continue. However, some categories remain slow, according to Mehta. These include footwear and formal men’s tailored clothing. The business however remains certain that discretionary spending is back. 

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