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Belgian chocolate company Leonidas opens first franchise outlet in India
Thursday, October 25, 2012 08:00 IST
Swati Vijay, Mumbai

Leonidas, the leading chocolatier from Belgium, offering premium range of chocolates, has opened its first franchise outlet in India at Santacruz West in Mumbai on Tuesday.

The outlet has been set up following a tie-up between Premium Pralines Pvt. Ltd and Leonidas for importing and distribution of the chocolates pan-India. Currently, the company sells over 115 products through 1,600 outlets across the world.

Karl Van Den Bossche, consul general, Belgium, and Tom Vermeulen, trade commissioner, Flanders Investment & Trade, graced the opening ceremony of the store and expressed delight tasting the delicacies.

Stating that Brussels was the single biggest spot for selling chocolates in the world, Van Den Bossche, said, "The national

airport sold around 800 tonnes of chocolate a year and is the chocolate hub of the world. There is a lot of potential for Belgium companies in India but the biggest hurdle is regulations and excise, the Indian market is too rigid and needs to be liberalised.”

Belgian companies are mostly small- and medium-sized, with good quality products, but they take their time to enter a market, doing thorough research. In India, the biggest challenge is, you need to have a good product but no market distortion and distribution channels especially the cold chains for products like chocolates needs to be liberalised especially for multibrand retail and that shall boost business."

Darshit Shah, MD, Leonidas Fresh Belgian Chocolates Premium Pralines Pvt. Ltd, said, "The chocolate industry in India is both organised as well as fragmented and is growing at the rate of approximately 12% to 14%. Being positioned as Belgium chocolates, Leonidas will facilitate the consumers in Santacruz with wide range of chocolate hampers, kids hampers and much more. All our chocolates are made from 100% cocoa butter, both the shell and the filling. The company believes in providing luxurious products of the best quality to the Indian consumer and plans to venture out into different luxury avenues for expansion.”

Shah added, "We plan to open stores in tier-I and tier-II cities, beginning with the metros in India. We have two formats in place - kiosk and store. The kiosk would suit the tier-I and tier-II cities, since there are consumers out there and they frequent the mall more compared to high street locations. The the store format would need an investment of Rs 50-55 lakh and the kiosk model would cost around Rs 20-22 lakh."

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