MOSCOW, Russia — Bulgari, the flagship jewellery brand of luxury group LVMH, plans to open up to four more stores in Russia over the next 10 years, betting on the long-term prospects of its luxury market.
The company is the second luxury brand to signal its confidence in the Russian market after French luxury group Hermès tripled the selling space of one of its two Moscow shops in December.
Bulgari chief executive Jean-Christophe Babin told Reuters in an interview the company's two Moscow outlets opened so far were "a minimum" even though some customers had become more cautious because of the weaker rouble.
"Perhaps 10 years down the road we will have five-six boutiques in Russia: three (in) Moscow (or) four, perhaps; one in St Petersburg; and one or two in two other cities," he said at the company's second Russian store in central Moscow.
"It might be faster, it might be slower, but probably we will have in Russia eventually the same number of boutiques we have in most ... major European countries," Babin said.
Bulgari, whose brand ambassador is former French first lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy, opened its first boutique in Russia in December in the landmark GUM shopping centre on Red Square, having previously worked in Russia through a partner.
Babin said the company was looking for Chinese speakers to work in its Moscow stores as the number of high-spending Chinese visitors has increased.
Russia is a top-10 country for Bulgari, the world's third-largest watch and jewellery maker behind Richemont's Cartier and Tiffany, generating annual revenue estimated at between €1.5 billion (£1.2 billion) and €2 billion.
Bulgari, whose jewellery items range from €1,000 to €10 million in price, has some 300 stores worldwide and plans to add around 12 stores in 2016, Babin said in April.
By Maria Kiselyova and Olga Sichkar; editors: Alexander Winning and Jane Merriman.