Italian footwear brand Geox walks into India

Premium Italian footwear brand Geox has entered into a retail and distribution arrangement with Delhi-based G&B Footcorp to set up its mono brand stores.

The company has chosen the distribution route rather than the foreign direct investment (FDI) mode to test water here. While footwear brand Clarks has a joint venture with Future Group, another footwear brand Pavers was the first to apply for a 100 per cent FDI for single brand retailing.

“We go alone in some countries but in India we have opted for the distribution model. The set-up in Asia Pacific is too large to go alone. G&B Footcorp will set up stores for the brand in India. They will identify the retail location and market the brand in India,” Mario Moretti Polegato, Chairman and founder, Geox, told Business Line.

The breathing shoe, called so because of the patented technology, earlier had marketing tie-up with M&B Footwear. G&B Footcorp, is an arm of G&B Fashion which retails brands such as Benetton in Delhi-NCR. The €807.6 million brand has a presence in 100 countries.

G&B Footcorp has set up three stores and plans to add two more this fiscal. “We want to be in at least top metros soon. We also plan to have at least 20 stores in next three years,” Polegato said adding that the stores will be set up in an area of 1,000 sq.ft. The company, however, did not disclose any investment plans.

Geox shoes will be priced from Rs 6,500 onwards. Besides selling shoes, the company will also be retailing apparels.

On whether Geox plans to increase sourcing from India, Polegato said the company is working towards it. At present, eight per cent of the total sourcing happens out of India.

“We source men’s footwear components and shoes from vendors in Agra and Chennai,” Polegato said.

The annual turnover of the Indian leather industry is estimated to be about $8 billion, out of which the export of leather and leather products was merely $3.84 billion in 2010-11. Branded shoes account only for 20 per cent of the total shoes sold in India.

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