Reebok to convert 50 stores into new model by first quarter of 2014

Reebok India is planning to convert 50 of its existing retail stores into Fit Hubs, the recently launched concept store model, by the end of first quarter of 2014 as part of its repositioning of the brand from a sports brand to a fitness brand. All its future stores would be of the Fit Hub model, while the existing shops would be converted to the new model over the years, said Somdeb Basu, brand director, Reebok India.

Speaking to the reporters in the sidelines of launching its first Fit Hub in Tamil Nadu, in Chennai, he said, "By the first quarter of 2014, we are expecting to launch 100 Fit Hub stores across 10-11 cities. This include conversion of around 50 stores and setting up of another 50." At present, it has seven Fit Hub stores, including two converted from existing regular stores.

He added that going forward, the company would only be opening stores with fitness concept and the existing stores would gradually change to Fit Hubs. The company has around 450 stores across the country, at present. The company would reposition the existing stores into the new model once the contract of the franchisee is expired, he said.

It has started the Fit Hub in June, by converting one of the stores in Gurgaon to a Fit Hub, which is an international concept present in markets like US, Australia, Russia and Korea. It offers apparels and accessories for various fitness activities including running and other regular excercises, for both men and women.

"Two years back, 35-40 per cent of each of our stores were offering sports apparels and related materials, while it has come down to around five per cent in the new concept. Under the new concept, almost 95 per cent of the store would cater to the fitness segment," he added. However, he refused to reveal the financials of the company.

When asked about whether the recent allegations on financial irregularities and fake warehouses has hit the company's brand image, he said that according to a study conducted by the company, the brand image was not affected by the issues. He said that the people are of the opinion that it is a financial issue and not related to the products.

In Phase I, until the third quarter of 2013, Reebok would be opening Fit Hub stores in metros and expand to other cities by end of 2014. Based on the Fit Hub concept, Reebok is planning to open 30 more stores across South India.

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