January 27, 2017 / 1:37 PM / in a year

Denmark's Pandora to enter India's growing jewelry market

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish jewelry maker Pandora said on Friday it would enter India, one of the world’s largest jewelry markets, and open 50 shops there in the next three years as it pursues an ambitious expansion plan.

The Indian jewelry market is worth more than $40 billion a year and is expected to grow 7 percent per year through 2021, Pandora said. However, the market has traditionally been focused on gold and diamonds rather than silver, Pandora’s favorite material, which only makes up 5 percent of the market.

A shift in consumer behavior especially amongst younger Indians toward western brands could however spell success for Pandora’s move, analysts said.

“Jewelry as a fashion statement is increasingly popular among consumers and with India already being one of the largest jewelry markets in the world, the country holds a great potential for Pandora,” Chief Executive Anders Colding Friis said in a stock exchange announcement.

The company declined further comment ahead of its Feb. 7 full-year report.

Pandora said last year that it expected to open between 200 and 300 new shops per year in 2016 through 2018, but has since raised that number to around 325 shops in 2016 with half of them in Europe and a quarter in the Americas and Asia.

“The expansion into India will greatly support Pandora in achieving the target it has set up for new shops,” analyst Michael Friis Jorgensen of Alm. Brand Bank said.

He said it was too early to assess how much India would contribute to Pandora’s future earnings as it depends on the company’s ability to spearhead a shift in consumer preferences toward silver.

Pandora had 2,010 stores worldwide by end-September, up from 1,666 at the same time the year before.

The company has appointed a local distributor, Pan India, but analysts expect it to take over the distribution in a few years once it has gained sufficient knowledge about the market, a model it has used successfully in other markets.

Pandora’s share price rose more than 2 percent after the announcement. At 1207 GMT, it was trading 1 percent higher at 901.50 per share. It reached a peak of around 1.000 crowns in May.

Editing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Elaine Hardcastle

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