US footwear brand Skechers to launch ‘Made in India’ range

American footwear brand Skechers plans to introduce lower price points (below Rs 3,000) once it starts manufacturing in India. The brand has recently availed of the provisions for single brand retail to set up a joint venture in the country.

Currently, the range is being imported from countries such as Vietnam and China with price tags between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,300. But the ‘Made in India’ range is expected to cost less and will be priced between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,200.

The biggest challenge for a new footwear brand is to get adequate distribution. While it already has presence through 200 points of sale across MBOs (multi brand outlets), it is waiting for FIPB clearance to open its own stores.

Sanjeev Agrawal, Managing Director, Skechers, South East Asia, said, “Once we get FIPB clearance we are also hoping to have standalone stores. Currently, we are working through wholesale distributors to reach out to retail chains. We intend having 40-50 stores in the next three years. These would be smaller stores measuring 1,500 sq ft across malls and high streets with a minimum investment of Rs 1 crore for every store.”

With its range of casual, sports and performance oriented shoes, Skechers has competition from big international brands such as Nike and Reebok as well as casual wear brands such as Lee Cooper and Pavers.

According to the company’s own estimates, the Indian footwear industry is currently valued at Rs. 20,000 crore and is seen growing at a rate of 8-10 per cent.

“There is an increase in demand for high performance footwear, and this is what made brand Skechers enter India. Once we have our own stores we also intend bringing in a kids range. We are also working on categories such as sandals and slippers in the open toes category to suit the requirements of the Indian market in the casual footwear range,” added Agrawal.

Skechers is also hoping to reach out to smaller markets in tier 2 cities such as Ahmedabad and Cochin to target the NRI clientele. “The brand has connect with NRIs settled in these cities as they have heard about the brand. We are also selling the brand through other e-commerce sites such as as we cannot sell directly through our own site,” added Agrawal. 20-year-old Skechers is a $1.5-billion brand available across 100 countries today.

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