Brands like Tommy, Esprit on a high

17 Jan, 2008, 0019 hrs IST, TNN 

BANGALORE: Riding on the back of high aspirational value, strong branding and high margins, international brands in the country have got off to a good early start. Brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Esprit and Puma have been reporting high growth figures since they entered the country a few years back.

Although there are few indigenous brands that compete with these international brands on price points, experts say these companies are getting popular because customers are graduating to brands with higher aspirational value. “This is clearly the case of customer upgradation. It happened in many other sectors like people buying bigger TVs, cars with bigger engines and now it is happening with apparel,” says Tommy Hilfiger India CEO Sailesh Chaturvedi.

Brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Esprit and Puma are all growing at over 100%.

While Tommy sources say they will be a Rs 100-crore brand by the end of this fiscal growing at well over 100%, Esprit is set to grow 200% to reach a turnover of Rs 75 crore. They have been growing at this rate every year since they launched India operations in 2005. Sportswear brand Puma does not share growth figures, but it has also grown well over 100% since its launch in 2006.

Experts says customers who were earlier wearing brands like Louis Phillipe, Van Heusen, ColorPlus and even Levis are now adding these international aspirational brands to their wardrobe.

According to these companies, the growth can be attributed to the combination of aggressive marketing, an international shopping experience and offers that induce customers to upgrade from domestic to international brands. “There are very few international brands in our segment and little competition, so we will focus on growing the market. There is a large market waiting to be tapped and even if we can get 10% of the market share we will continue to do well,” says Mr Chaturvedi. These brands operate in the Rs 8,000-crore organised apparel retail market growing at around 20% per annum.

According to Technopak, however, it is still early days for these brands. “Some of the reasons for impressive performance is that these brands have a small base in India and also because these brands are often credited with creating this premium casual wear segment in the country,” says a Technopak consultant. While Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi are the three metros that give the highest sales, overall the north is more profitable.


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