“We would like to weigh our options for expansion including rental cost of locations. It would not be prudent to expand fast and then shut stores,” Rajiv Mehta said.
New Delhi: Textile-to-retail conglomerate Arvind Group has readied plans to step into India’s $5.2-billion footwear retail market, which is currently dominated by players such as Bata, Metro, Mochi and Reliance Footprint.
Ex-MD of Puma India, Rajiv Mehta, who has been roped in by Arvind as CEO of Arvind Sports Lifestyle & Arvind Fashion Brands, told TOI that the company has opened its first store under the brand name of ‘Stride’ in Bengaluru.
“Compared to the world average growth of 5%, footwear retail in India is growing at a CAGR of 20%,” said Mehta.
He said the average cost of setting up a ‘Stride’ store is around Rs 2,200 per square feet. However, Mehta was not keen to share growth strategy for the new footwear chain, including the proposed number of stores.
“We would like to weigh our options for expansion including rental cost of locations. It would not be prudent to expand fast and then shut stores,” he said. “Our expansion strategy would be a mix of company-owned and franchisee stores.”
‘Stride’ will start operations by selling Arvind’s in-house footwear brands such as US Polo, Arrow and Flying Machine. It will also stock premium brands such as Cole Haan, Johnston & Murphy, Heatwave and Bugatti with which Arvind has entered into exclusive licensee agreements.
Recently, Arvind partnered with former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar to launch men’s apparel brand ‘True Blue’. The company plans to open around 25 ‘True Blue’ stores and is eyeing Rs 200-300 crore from the brand in five years.
Sales of footwear in India is expected to reach Rs 1.1 trillion by 2020 at a CAGR of 8%, according to research firm Euromonitor. However, retail formats are changing fast, the market research firm said. From around 6.5% in 2014, online channels currently account for 10% of total footwear sales in the country.
“We would be working out a strategy for online,” said Mehta. “One of them could be setting aside a range of products for online marketplaces. It will be easy for us to monitor prices of our brands on online marketplaces.”