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Titan to take Tatas into beauty business

Mumbai, Sept. 10: Having sold Lakme to Hindustan Lever, the Tatas want to make a comeback in the business of beauty. And, if all goes to plan, the Rs 47,000-crore group could be peddling facials and skin toners under a brand-name it uses to sell watches — Titan.

The Bangalore-based Titan will follow French and Italian designer houses such as Pierre Cardin, Yves St Laurent, Christian Dior and others. These fashion conglomerates, recognised the world over as the trend-setters for what people wear and look like, now peddle products from watches to cosmetics to pens under their labels.

Titan’s two main-line businesses — watches and jewellery — are about personal accessories. Realising the untapped high brand value and its strengths in marketing, the company is thinking of capitalising on personal accessories, fashion-ware and precision components.

Titan plans to hawk personal wear fashion accessories, cosmetics, sunglasses, caps, scarves, hair accessories and leather products. A special resolution will be moved to seek shareholders’ approval for the forays, though company officials did not respond to queries.

Titan has, for some time, been sizing up opportunities to extend the company’s brand equity to other products. Five to six businesses that fit neatly into the watches and jewellery business have been spotted.

The company hopes to harness its existing strengths like marketing and distribution network, design skills, sourcing prowess and a strong brand value in personal ware to get into new lines of business.

Titan, realising fashion brands are high on design, will leverage its reputation in other personal wear categories that are a growing threat to traditional watch-makers.

There have been reports suggesting the company will start selling silverware by riding on its Tanishq jewellery brand.

The watch and clock business registered a sales turnover of Rs 457.12 crore, while its domestic jewellery business registered a significant growth during the year and clocked a turnover of Rs 267.66 crore.

Tanishq is touted as the country’s national brand offering fine jewellery, with 52 exclusive stores across cities.

Traditional watch-makers are spooked by fashion brands that use their reputation in personal wear categories. On the technology front, the convergence of multiple technologies in products such as the mobile phone is also posing a serious global threat to watches as a timekeeping device.

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