Foreign shores beckon Indian apparel brands
INDIAN apparel retailers are increasing their brand presence overseas, particularly in developed markets. While most have identified a gap in countries in West Asia and Africa, some majors are also looking at the US and Europe. Arvind Brands, Madura Garments, Spykar Lifestyle and Royal Classic Polo are busy chalking out foreign expansion plans through the distribution route and standalone stores as well. Arvind Brands has earmarked its Excalibur and Flying Machine brands for foreign expansion. “While Arrow is already present in West Asia and Africa, Excalibur is present in West Asia and we might take it to Africa,” Arvind Brands CEO (Brands & Retail) of Arvind Mills, Suresh J said. It also plans to launch Flying Machine in the US and Europe in the coming months. “We will be launching the brand in the US and Europe in about six months because we believe this is a brand that will do well everywhere. For Arvind, the trick to tackle these mature markets will be to tie up with a established department chains,” Mr Suresh said. Another denim wear brand, Spykar, which is now moving towards becoming a casualwear lifestyle brand, has launched its store in Melbourne recently. It plans to open three stores in London by 2008-end. Nepal is also on the radar besides UAE. “Once we exploit the domestic market, we plan to expand overseas from 2009. Standalone stores in these countries help in increasing the brand visibility and distribution via department stores becomes easier,” says Sanjay Vakharia, Director-Marketing, Spykar. According to consultancy firm Technopak, most domestic retailers are expanding their presence overseas as they have revamped their brands to make them truly international. Also, countries such as Dubai and Africa have space to house more brands. “In the past one year, most of these companies have revamped and expanded their brands and now they want to push them in the global markets,” a Technopak executive said. Madura, too, is planning to open exclusive stores in East Africa, West Asia, South Asia and south east Asia. The apparel manufacturer and retailer is looking for a partner in these countries for exclusive outlets. Till then, it will continue to sell its brands in West Asia where it already has Planet Fashion stores. “We have global distribution rights for brands Louis Philippe and Peter England so we might take these brands to the foreign countries. But these will be secondary markets for us compared to the Indian market,” Madura Garments’ director Vikram Rao said. Relatively new player in the retail sector, Royal Classic Polo, too, is eyeing foreign markets. The Chennai-based company, which owns Classic Polo and Swiss Club brands, is planning to foray into Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Dubai. The company is looking at the first-mover advantage in these countries. “We want to expand to these countries to protect our business as the Indian retail market may be saturated in the coming years,” says Royal Classic executive director R Sivaram.