US Presidents' shoe maker enters India with Mumbai store

Johnston & Murphy, the American shoe brand which makes shoes for US Presidents, has entered the country with a local partner.

The 163 year old brand which has made shoes for Millard Fillmore to Barack Obama, is planning to open 15 stores in the country over the next 4-5 years across metros and distribute products through wholesale channel. Its first store will open at Linking Road, at Khar in Mumbai on Friday.

In India, the brand will sell the shoes from Rs 8,000 to Rs 15,000 a pair and its Italian collection will be sold at Rs 18,000 to Rs 25,000 for a pair. It will retain its ‘bridge to luxury’ positioning  in the country.

In India, the brand will sell 150 products, compared to 300 in the US.

“India has a young, well educated and professional population which is core customers. It has a very good market. We chose to be in India before China,” said Jonathan D Caplan, president and Chief executive officer at Genesco Inc, which owns the brand.

“You need patience to do business in international markets. Many US companies go to international markets but sometimes do not become successful. Our international expansion mostly happned in the last five years.,” Caplan said.

The $ 2.2 billion Genesco has 2455 stores across US, Canada, the UK among others and owns license for ‘Dockers’ brand.

The brand is looking to import 70-75 per cent of merchandise from its factories in China, Brazil and others, said Gaurav Agarwal, director of Premium Retail which has taken the license and master distribution rights for Johnston & Murphy in the country.

Agarwal said the company was looking to open stores of 1500 to 1800 sq ft and looking at a business of Rs 50 crore in the next 3-4 years.

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