New Delhi : Japanese performance sportswear firm ASICS is stepping up expansion in India with plans to add over 20 mono-brand stores by next year.
It is also intensifying presence on e-commerce platforms while growing business through regional distribution channels to cater to growing demand in tier II cities.
The company, which sells its footwear and apparel products through franchise model, is also keeping options open to have its own stores once it meets 30 per cent local sourcing requirements under the current FDI policy in retail.
“As of now we have 22 mono-brand stores, out of which seven were opened in the first half of the year. Another seven will be opened in the second half. For next year also we are looking at a similar number of new such stores,” ASICS India Managing Director Rajat Khurana told .
Emphasising on the need for opening more exclusive stores, he said: “In a country like India 50-60 per cent of sales happen in mono-brand stores for all the brands and we are no exception. So we continue to focus on opening mono- brand stores, growth and other channels.”
Currently, around 40 per cent of the company’s total sales comes from mono-brand stores.
Khurana, however, said the company’s growth strategy in India will not only be through the standalone outlets but also by intensifying presence on e-commerce platforms and increasing distribution channels to cater to regional markets.
“We are present on the big four e-commerce platforms in India. Our sales from e-commerce account for nearly 20 per cent of business. So we are looking to grow this channel as well,” he said.
Besides, ASICS India will increase business through distribution channels and multibrand outlets like Reliance Footprint to cater to smaller cities beyond metro, Khurana said.
When asked if ASICS planned to open company-owned stores in India, he said: “The FDI policy does not allow us to open our own stores unless we conform to the 30 per cent local sourcing norm. Yes, we want a combination of both – our own stores and franchises.
“However, unless we think we are able to meet the 30 per cent sourcing norm, we can’t open our own. Whenever we reach that level or if the norm gets relaxed, we’ll have both,” he said.
The company began local sourcing in India three seasons back for apparels starting from spring-summer 2016 collection and it has also started some footwear recently, he added.
“It would take at least 3-4 years to reach that 30 per cent, considering the current dynamics of local sourcing,” he said.
On products, Khurana said the company is increasing “width and depth” of its offering by adding new categories like cricket, badminton, tennis and wrestling shoes to add to its main running footwear category.
Admitting that the company has been a late entrant in the Indian market, he said ASICS would be taking up marketing campaigns, including its global campaign ‘I Move Me’ in India with a focus to reach out to a broader audience.
“We would be doing this through traditional media and the digital medium. Besides, we are looking to bring in brand ambassadors going ahead to aid our brand awareness,” Khurana said.