Economic Times – Elargir Views On Arvind Sports to Bring Cole Haan and Heatwave Shoes to India

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Arvind Sports Lifestyle plans to launch two international shoe brands, Cole Haan and Heatwave, in India as part of a plan to cash in on the country’s growing premium footwear market.
The move comes a year after textile firm Arvind entered the footwear segment to sell shoes of existing partners such as Arrow, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, and roped in former Puma managing director Rajiv Mehta to head the new division.

American brand Cole Haan, which was earlier owned by Nike, specialises in casual and dress leather shoes and is now controlled by Apax Partners.Singapore-based Heatwave, on the other hand, is known for comfortable as well as high-heeled footwear, especially for career women.“At present, there is a huge vacuum in the price points between Rs 7,000 and Rs 21,000. The positioning of Cole Haan will be right between premium and luxury brands availab le in India,“ said Mehta, CEO of Arvind Sports.

The company plans to open first stores of both these brands by May , said Mehta. “The market for women office wear has limited offerings and Heatwave is high in fashion at an affordable pricing. Both brands will address a crucial gap,“ he said. Heatwave will be priced at ` . 2,000-4,300 and will compete with Clarks and Charles & Keith. Merchandise for both these brands will be imported and the company is targeting ` . 130 crore in revenues in the next five years.

Aggressive expansion by players in the premium segment, including Pavers England, Clarks, Aldo and Charles & Keith, comes amid increasing income levels, higher disposable income and rising discretionary spending.

Experts said pricing and stiff competition could prove a dampener. “Right pricing is very important for Cole Haan… But there is a huge potential as well as gap in that price segment where it will operate,“ said Ruchi Sally , director at retail consultancy firm Elargir. “For Heatwave, the biggest challenge would be from its Singapore peer Charles & Keith,“ she said.

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