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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 05/08/2012

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Kaizer Leather, a global lifestyle brand, sees a bright future for luxury goods market as the demand picks up with the increase in tourist inflow to Dubai, its top official said.

The Dubai-based brand has sustained a steady business growth since the launch of its first boutique at Dubai Festival City in 2009. It recorded a 35 per cent year-on-year growth during first six months of this year due to increased brand awareness and expansion into new markets.

"We are very excited about our expansion into new markets including Travel Retail in Africa. We hope to have a pan European presence namely the CIS, Scandinavia and Italy by 2013," Kaizer Federal, founder and managing director of Kaizer Leather, told Khaleej Times.

Kaizer Leather offers an extensive variety of leather accessories including men's and ladies wallets, key fobs, business card holders, business and laptop bags, travel and messenger bags as well as diaries and folders. "We are also currently exploring e-commerce opportunities and will hopefully be launching an e-portal sight to cater to online buyers," Federal said. Excerpts from the interview:

How did Kaizer Leather perform in first half of 2012?

Kaizer has enjoyed a 35 per cent growth in first six months of 2012 compared to same period of last year. This is attributed to not only better brand awareness leading to new buyers and repeat purchase amongst our existing customers but also our expansion into new markets including travel retail in Africa as well as breakthroughs with corporate sales.

What is your expectation for Ramadan and Eid?

We usually see a spurt in sales during the month of Ramadan, closer to Eid, with the arrival of the visitors from the GCC.

Are you going to launch a new collection soon?

We recently launched the new Rhetoric collection. We have also added on a new category - writing instruments. These have just been launched. Furthermore, we have in the offing an interesting line-up for fall and winter 2012-13, both men and women.

How was the response on the recently-launched writing instruments?

The Kaizer pens have just gone into the store - so probably a little too early to say. Keeping in mind the heritage of the products, we are quite positive that it we will have a favourable response. Kaizer writing instruments are made in Germany from solid sterling silver 925 and come with a five-year warranty.

Kaizer just recently concluded its Dubai Summer Surprises promotion. How was the business during the promotion period?

DSS per se didn't do much for us, and was a little disappointing. Fortunately for us, we have a regular customer base who understands the quality that our products offer. It is this group of people who keep coming back. And thankfully this segment to our advantage has been growing over the last three and half years.

Do you have plans to expand in the UAE or GCC?

We are always looking for opportunities to expand our retail base and it is always work in progress.

How do you see the demand for lifestyle products in Dubai?

Post-September 2008, the market for luxury lifestyle products did take a nose dive. But since then things have recovered and now are definitely on an upswing. Dubai has always had the twin advantage of having not only a local population that is extremely fashion conscious but high tourist traffic, who have shopping for luxury products high on their agenda.

Did you record any negative impact on sales/demand due to the recession since you launched your first boutique in 2009?

We started with our retail operations right in the midst of the recession. And obviously that came to our advantage as we were not only very pragmatic with the figures that we were expecting, but also kept it as a lean-mean operation. Thanks to our product quality and our loyal customer base, things are looking bright for the future.

What's your plan to expand your customer base? How much of your sales depend on tourists or visitors?

We are a global brand, catering to various tastes - our target customer is one who shares a passion for leather as we do and a leather aficionado to the core. Today, we have customers from across the globe who buy our products. The UAE nationals as well as nationals from the GCC do form the core group of our buyers.

As the economy is recovering, do you expect any positive impact on demand for luxury and lifestyle products?

We operate in a niche price segment, offering products that focus on quality, design and functionality. What we have noticed is that the demand for our kind of products, luxury but with great value for money, has increased dramatically, with the consumer questioning how they would like to spend their money on so called established brands.


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