Tanishq launched its owned stores in the UAE late 2020 and is now primed for a major expansion in the Gulf. With Sharaf retail as partner. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: India’s Tanishq – one of the biggest Indian gold and jewellery brands – is taking a ‘hybrid’ approach to its expansion in the UAE. The Tata Group owned entity has signed up Dubai’s Sharaf Retail to be a franchise partner and launch new stores in the Gulf.

What’s different is that when it comes to gold and jewellery retail, franchises are the rarity. The stores in the UAE are mostly owned by the brands themselves, whether that’s Malabar Gold & Diamonds, Damas, Joyalukkas, Kanz or Jawhara. This retail model made sense because these are predominantly family- owned or associated enterprises and which preferred to do everything under its own structure.

In fact, Tanishq when it made an entry into the UAE through Dubai, the stores were owned direct by the brand. Or were they?

Kuruvilla Markose, CEO for the International Business Division at Titan Company ltd., sets the record straight. “When we start in a new region (such as the UAE/Gulf), we prefer to directly own the first set of outlets as that helps us gain first-hand experience in the new region,” he said. 

“After that, as we start to expand, we bring in partners, so that jointly with their regional expertise we become stronger.” - Kuruvilla Markose of Titan Company ltd. Image Credit: Supplied

This is where Sharaf Retail comes in. Sharaf has through the years become the dominant player in the tech and electronics retail space (under Sharaf DG).

“Jewellery is a high potential category and as we delve into this new space, we wanted the right partner,” said Sharafuddin Sharaf, Vice-Chairman, Sharaf Group.

“When a group like ours with diversified interests ties up with Tanishq - India’s leading Jeweller from the trusted Tata Group - it bodes well for the future.” - Sharafuddin Sharaf of Sharaf Group Image Credit: Supplied

A high-profile entry

Tanishq jewellery collections had been retailing in the UAE over the last 20 plus years. But it was late 2020 that it went in for optimum visibility through standalone – and owned – showrooms in Dubai and which has since been expanded to outlets in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Of course, there are also the Titan showrooms, which is the sister brand and into watches. There are 21 Titan showrooms, with 18 owned by the company and three operated by Rivoli.

“In the long term, the Titan Company believes that a good combination is for about 30 per cent of the outlets to be owned by the company and 70 per cent by partners,” said Markose. “The company uses the outlets it owns to showcase the best ways to achieve both revenue growth and great customer experience.

“Partners learn from this and also bring their regional expertise, creating a win-win for Titan, its partners and customers.”

Of the seven Tanishq boutiques in the UAE, three are company-owned and four by ‘long-standing partners who already own Tanishq stores in India and wanted to invest in the UAE growth story’.