Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Adidas announces the launch of Snowboarding boots technical outerwear at SIA trade show and then in Munich during the ISPO trade show. The 2013 /2014 season features three distinct snowboarding boots for men and women and roughly 60 articles of snowboarding apparel from base layers, to mid’s, to premium technical snowboarding jackets and pants. New adidas goggles join footwear and apparel to offer a true head-to-toe package. The collection follows the newly formed adidas Snowboarding Pro team: Jake Blauvelt, Kazu Kokubo, Eric Jackson, Helen Schettini, Forest Bailey and Keegan Valaika.

The line will be sold in to core Snowboarding retailers globally and is designed in collaboration with the adidas Snowboarding team- for use in all-terrain from back-country to parks & resorts. The team is a diverse group of individuals with a mutual respect for each other and a shared excitement to work collaboratively with the adidas Action Sports team. All are signed to wear adidas Snowboard boots. Additionally, Eric, Keegan and Kazu are all signed on for apparel technicalouterwear. Helen and Keegan are also on adidas Eyewear.

Highlights of the footwearcollection include: The Blauvelt signature boot, The Samba- a modified adaptation of the classic soccer boot, and the Samba W- a woman’s specific boot. The apparel collection features all levels of technical outerwear from park jackets and hoodies to Gore-Tex jackets and pants and a unique, one-piece snow track-suit. The goggle program integrates the design language from footwear and apparel, with technical optical features.

adidas Snowboarding joins adidas Skateboarding in an effort towards dedication to authentic and collaborative footwear and apparel designed by skateboarders and snowboarders, for skateboarders and snowboarders.

adidas Snowboarding will support the collection with a robust marketing campaign featuring all the riders and rolling out print advertising, film sponsorships, events and a dedicated website at:<> (currently featuring Jake Blauvelt and eventually featuring the entire team, product and action)

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

IILF Starting from January 31 2013

ITPO will organise India International Leather Fair (IILF) 2013, 28th in the annual series, will be held from January 31 to February 3, 2013 at Chennai Trade Centre, Nandambakkam, Chennai. The fair will be inaugurated on 31st Jan., 2013 at 6:00 pm and will open to business visitors from 01 Feb to 03 Feb 2013 (10 am to 6 pm).

IILF will have on display the entire range of products relating to leather industry from raw material to finished products and auxiliary products such as finished leather; shoes; shoe components - uppers, soles, heels, counters, lasts; leather garments, fashion accessories, leather goods - wallets, belts, gloves, portfolios, hand bags; saddlery and harness; machinery and equipment and chemicals.

IILF has all along been a vivid presentation of the leather industry. Latest expressions of the trends, styles, designs and colours in world fashion are shown. The business visitors will surely be attracted to exhibits displayed by more than 400 companies, including over 100 from more than 20 foreign countries.

As per feedback from exhibitors, the business generated during the fair is likely to be about US$ 284.4 million. Two Joint Ventures were entered and 9384 trade enquiries were generated. In addition, there were 630 distributorships obtained by Indian participants during the fair.

About 93.04% of the participants indicated that their participation in the fair was cost effective. This indicates the high level of satisfaction with the business, visitor turnover and facilities at the fair.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Perambalur to get a Mega Leather Cluster

Perambalur in Tamil Nadu is one of the six sites identified for establishing Mega Leather Clusters (MLCs) that constitute one of the important measures taken by the Government of India to achieve the target of $14 billion leather exports by 2017, R. Ramesh Kumar, Executive Director of the Council for Leather Exports (CLE) said on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference in connection with the 47{+t}{+h}edition of LERIG, a networking event of leather sector professionals, that begins here on January 28, Mr. Ramesh Kumar said about 200 acres of land had been earmarked in Perambalur for setting up the cluster.

The other sites are at Ramaipur, Sandila and Agra in Uttar Pradesh, Mewar (Rajasthan) and Taramandal (Andhra Pradesh).

The MLCs are a sub-scheme launched under the Indian Leather Development Programme (ILDP) with an allocation of Rs. 600 crore during the 12{+t}{+h}Plan period.

The scheme targets industrial clusters with high growth potential that require strategic interventions by way of infrastructural support.

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Central Leather Research Institute in Chennai are designated as project management consultants to assist the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

Leather exports have been averaging 20 per growth annually and aggregated $4.86 billion in 2011-12. Leather exports are tipped to cross $8 billion in 2014.

The other important intervention by the Centre is the launch of the Leather Sector Skill Development Council that is mandated with providing soft skills/hard skills training to the largely semi-skilled workforce in the leather sector, said Mr. Ramesh Kumar.

At present about 30 per cent of the two crore workforce in the sector are women. It is estimated that the sector would need to not only significantly expand its labour base (at least to 5 crore) but also vastly improve skill sets to achieve exports targets and compete on the global stage, N. Shafeeque Ahmed, CLE vice chairman said.

Leather is one of the top forex earning sectors and a focused sector in Foreign Trade Policy (2009-14).

The CLE office-bearers were optimistic that after a slump in demand coupled with the late onset of winter in Europe, which has been the traditional stronghold for Indian exporters, exports would gain momentum in the next couple of months.

Giving the details of LERIG 2013, A.B. Mandal, CLRI Director, said the leather sector’s flagship event was themed ‘Global Alliances with Integrated Networking to GAIN value for leather.’

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Six million visit Haining Leather Market

The number people that have visited the Haining Leather Market (approx two hours south of Shanghai) numbered nearly six million in 2012, up 15.12% and setting a new record in terms of visitor numbers, according to the latest statistics released by the operators of the leather market, Haining Leather Market Group.

Haining Leather Market is regarded China’s largest leather and leather products retailer with over 3500 stores located in nearly one million square metres of floor space. Haining is China’s leading production and export zone for leather garments, leather furniture and leather goods. Leather products sold in the market account for one third of China’s national sales.

More recently similar markets have opened in Jiangsu, Tongerpu, Henan and Sichuan. The Haining Leather Market Group have also started construction of markets in Beijing and Herbin cities.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Footwear industry eyes global market

The district's footwear industry is looking forward to a classic David versus Goliath fight. After emerging as the country's second largest footwear manufacturing hub, a bunch of footwear manufacturers here are aiming to take on the Chinese who have a stranglehold over the international market.

At least 30 city-based manufacturers have already gone global, shipping footwear to the Middle East and Far East markets. Buoyed by the initial overseas success, the industry has set an export target of Rs 500 crore in five years.
It was the footwear boom that had helped the district tide over the domestic industrial gloom after the traditional mainstays like timber, tiles and textiles collapsed. The sector, which has clocked over Rs 700 crore in domestic sales, has also created at least 25,000 jobs.

Manufacturers claim that their products are hugely successful among customers in Singapore, Malaysia and across Middle East countries. "We have been able to export products worth Rs 50 crore so far this year but this is just a scratch in the market. We have realized that the future is in the international market," said V Noushad, chairman of the footwear sector of the Kerala Small Scale Industries Association (KSSIA).

They are aiming to secure the Town of Export Excellence status in footwear sector for Kozhikode. "The sector has been growing at 40% for the past five years. The only factor that is holding us back is the lack of qualified personnel in design and production. The Footwear Design and Development Institute campus would help us address this issue," Noushad said.

Sources said the development of a container terminal at Beypore port is also vital for the industry.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Reebok prepares India ad shift

Sportswear firm Reebok is planning to revamp its marketing strategy in a bid to improve its share of the rapidly-growing Indian apparel market.

German sportswear giant adidas, owner of the Reebok brand, is planning a new advertising campaign, new product launches and a switch in pricing policy in order to reposition the brand as representing "quality", the Business Standard reports.

Figures released last year by market research firm RNCOS suggested that the Indian sports apparel market was set for annual growth of around 34% during the 2010-14 period, making the subcontinent a tempting target for many global brands.

Reebok is set to roll out new products for running, cricket and football over the first half of 2013, having cleared much of its old Indian stock over recent months by offering 50-70% discounts in stores.

An integrated ad campaign, entitled 'Fresh Start', will also begin in February.

Speaking to the Business Standard, Erick Haskell, head of adidas India, said: "The fresh start campaign is to remind the Indian consumers [of] Reebok's positioning as a fitness brand with quality."

News of the marketing activity follows the release of a poll of Indian 15 to 24-year-olds from the Economic Times and Nielsen, which revealed that adidas was rated the nation's second "most exciting" brand behind soft drinks giant Coca-Cola.

Steve McPherson, brand director at Reebok India, said: "Our youth-centric activities predominantly revolve around social media. We have a simple strategy: be exciting, not intrusive."

Sunday, 20 January 2013

China bans Brazilian raw hide imports due to BSE

Following a request from theSauerReport which had received several enquiries about a new import ban on hides from Brazil connected to a mad cow disease (BSE) case, the China Leather Industry Association (CLIA) issued a statement after checking with the Chinese authorities.
“The Chinese government issued a statement on the December 7, 2012 requiring customs to stop imports of cattle and cattle by-products from Brazil due to mad cow disease, the policy has already taken effect.
Because China and Brazil have not yet signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement on imports of hides, up to mid January raw hide imports from Brazil are still not allowed to enter into China. The CLIA hope that the two organisations (CLIA and CICB) could lobby their national governments to sign this type of agreement soon.
Wet-blue, semi-finished and finished leather are not included in the policy, meaning those products can enter into China’s ports without any limitation.”

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Adidas claims ignorance about Reebok India Irregularities

German sportswear maker Adidas said it was ignorant of irregularities at the Reebok India unit in the past few years. It has rejected accusations that it had in any way been aware of the wrongdoing that led to a fraud estimated by it at Rs 870 crores. “The financial irregularities at Reebok India were conducted by the former Reebok India company management, without knowledge or any involvement of the Adidas Group HQ,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Adidas has put the blame for the financial irregularities reported in May 2012 on those running Reebok India at the time—Subhinder Singh Prem, former managing director, and Vishnu Bhagat, former chief operating officer. The company said its Reebok India unit has “petitioned the government to conduct further investigations to unearth the full extent of fraud perpetrated against the company, which has reportedly been ordered in the matter”.

On the other hand, the German sport goods major is finding it tough to make its Reebok store franchisees in India to accept terms of the new business agreement. The discontent among Reebok franchisees runs so deep that many have offered deep discounts, as high as 80 percent, in an effort to clear stocks and settle their accounts with the company.

Adidas further added that it didn’t intend to let the Reebok brand die in India. “We are committed to the Indian market and see great growth potential in the mid and long term. Reebok is a premium global sports brand,” it said. “Our recent as well as future campaigns will focus on strengthening our fitness proposition with consumers in India. It is our clear intention to grow the business of Reebok brand in India focusing on profitability.”

Friday, 18 January 2013

Adidas brings ex-China head to lead India operations

German sportswear major Adidas group today announced a top management change in India with Erick Haskell, ex-COO of its China operations, coming in to head the business here as it looks to move on after last year’s alleged Rs 870 crore fraud at its arm, Reebok India.

Haskell takes over from Claus Heckerott, who led the restructuring efforts at Reebok India that had filed an FIR alleging fraud by its former MD Subhinder Singh Prem and COO Vishnu Bhagat, which both of them have denied.

Heckerott, in the meantime will continue to be a part of Reebok India, supporting the business model change and fresh start initiatives, the company said. He will move into a new position within the Adidas group later in 2013.

“The restructuring of Reebok India is coming to an end and the group has decided that it is time to focus on the business aspects here in India. I will be looking to leverage on my China experience for growth here,” Haskell said.

On the status of investigations on the case, he said: “It is largely in the hands of the authorities now and we are co-operating.”

In order to avoid what had happened in Reebok India, he said, “we are ensuring that there is going to be an internal control mechanism across all verticals and we are working with our headquarters in Germany to have a comprehensive system”.

He said the company also has a “zero tolerance” policy against involvement in corrupt practices by any of its franchise partners and suppliers.

Commenting on Haskell’s appointment, Adidas group Chief Sales Officer – Multi-channel Markets, Roland Auschel said: “During the past year, we focussed on setting up Reebok India for a fresh start in 2013, while continuing to build on the strength and success of the Adidas brand”.

“Erick’s leadership, experience and proven track record in China make him an ideal candidate to lead the group’s business in India into the future, building upon the positive momentum that Claus Heckerott has already established.”

Commenting on the voluntary retirement scheme that Reebok India had offered to 200 employees last year, Haskell said 84 have taken it up and the combined employee strength of Adidas and Reebok in India now stands at 240.

With the downsizing of stores, Reebok India has 500 outlets now with two-third of the original franchisees staying on board with the company after its transition into a new business model.

Last year, the company had announced plans to reduce store count by one-third from 900 outlets operated by 600 partners.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Indian women spend as much on shoes as their counterparts in US, UK but they buy many more pairs with same money"

As much money on footwear as they do in the United States or in the UK but here they just buy a lot more pairs and spend much less on each one. Keeping this in mind, we launched an affordable range and are continuously working towards developing new range of footwear At the end of the day the idea is to make the brand accessible to consumers. Interestingly, women footwear contribute 60% to our
store business. Honestly we are pleasantly surprised.

The Indian market is very different to markets such as Dubai, USA or the UK, how did you prepare yourself for the Indian market?

Before entering India, we spent two years on research, trying to grasp the Indian consumer’s mindset. As part of the exercise, we visited lots of households, and talked to people about what they were looking for in shoes, what are the factors kept in mind before buying a pair of footwear, apart from taking a look at the footwear collection of many people including, men and women. The result was amazing, as it showed that there were women who had 20 pair of flat sandals, 10 pair of pumps, boots, wedges—almost everything in their closet. This was special about Indian women consumers and we had to understand this before we set shop here. Therefore, we have made changes in our own range of shoes for women including introduction of more colour and many more. We have been operating in India for the last 18 months and what we have learnt is that quite a lot of style of shoes that sells well around the world, also sells well in India.

As you mainly operate in the premium category where does your main consumers reside—in the metro or are they spread across the country?

We are in a phase where we are still discovering the Indian consumer. When we came here, we took a decision to focus on the big cities first. The initial idea was to become as big as possible in the major cities. In the beginning, we opened seven stores in Delhi, six in Bangalore in addition to opening shops in Mumbai and Pune. We recently opened a store in Kanpur, where the response has been phenomenonal. We also began our online store, recently and interestingly, the first few orders came from Mizoram. So I think we have a lot of consumers spread here and there.
What is your marketing strategy? You seemed to have intentionally stayed away from mediums such as television and print?

Marketing in our case is very targetted as we want to be present only at those destinations where our potential consumer is present. So far, we have invested in activations inside malls, apart from advertising in cinema halls. Moreover, we pay a lot of attention at the point of sale—that is window display, shop designing, etc. We still don’t have the reach to take advantage of television, so it made no-sense to use the medium. In the coming time, digital and mobile is going to be something that we will need to concentrate on.\

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Nike investigates Indonesian suppliers over wage abuse

US sporting goods giant Nike said on Tuesday it was investigating claims by labour activists that its manufacturers in Indonesia were trying to evade paying its workers the minimum wage.
“Nike takes these claims seriously and company representatives are investigating the claims,” global corporate communications director Greg Rossiter told AFP.

Nike’s code of conduct is “very clear”, he said, adding the company expected workers producing for Nike to be “paid at least the minimum wage required by country law and provided legally mandated benefits”, such as holidays, leave and severance pay.

Following massive protests, Jakarta workers won a 44% minimum wage rise to 2.2 million rupiah (around Rs.12,430) a month, effective 1 January, and other provincial governments are following suit at different rates.

Minimum wages are regulated at provincial and district levels in Indonesia, but authorities have mulled giving exemption to factories deemed unable to afford the hikes.

Jim Keady, head of the US-based non-governmental organization Education for Justice (EFJ), has said at least six Indonesian suppliers had applied for exemptions.

After the EFJ visited the western Javanese city of Sukabumi, it reported a Nike supplier there had won approval from the district wage council to pay only 1.1 million rupiah, instead of the new minimum wage of 1.2 million rupiah.

“Nike unfortunately exercises imperialist values—values that run counter to the commitments to democracy and human rights,” Keady said.

Surya Tjandra, director of Indonesia’s Trade Union Rights Centre, said while those seeking exemptions appeared to be Nike’s local contractors, the company was ultimately responsible for ensuring its code of conduct was upheld.

“Factory workers are paid poorly in Indonesia. They barely have enough to pay for food, what more health, school and other living expenses,” Tjandra said. “Nike should not only be concerned about making profits, which often come at the expense of workers’ welfare.”
Indonesia is the world’s third biggest producer of Nike footwear and apparel, after Vietnam and China, with 40 factories in the country employing 171,000 workers producing the company’s goods.
Despite fears that wage increases will encourage businesses to move to neighbouring countries like Vietnam, Indonesian factory workers remain some of the lowest-paid in Asia, often earning less than workers in China or India.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Desi Brands Cash in on Foreign names

Amidst the tough competition from global brands, several desi brands seem to have found out a way to make a place for themselves. The new trend being followed by a handful of Indian brands is to name their labels in such a fashion that it sounds international. Sample this: Munich Polo. Do not mistake it as an international brand for it’s an India-based children’s wear brand. Although being Indian, in order to make an impression on the minds of the customers, Munich Polo has positioned itself as a German brand. Its website uses German language and also depicts the rich cultural history of Munich.

According to the brand, it uses Munich’s rich heritage to draw inspiration for its apparel designs. To add further to the trend, the brand uses fair-skinned children as models to give the brand an authentic German look and feel. What’s more Munich Polo recently launched its premium kids’ wear stores in New Delhi. And Munich Polo is not alone, there are other too who have established themselves as foreign brands, Da Milano, Franco Leone and La Opala are just some of them.

Experts say the trend will gain momentum as more and more Indian brands will try to look and sound foreign to make the most of rising aspirations of foreign-label. Take Da Milano for example, a high-end leather accessory label it presents itself as an Italian brand. Similarly, Franco Leone the Delhi-based premium footwear brand too bears an Italian name. Vikram Bhamri, Director of Franco Leone points out that his father had bought the brand from two Italian designers called Franco and Leone. Hence, the brand was named Franco Leone. He also said that keeping names which sounds international makes a lot of sense. It gives the business a boost. According to him, it is the Indian mindset that plays a major role. In India, people love and easily accept European and American fashion because it is aspirational. Franco Leone has Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor as its brand ambassador.

Veteran adman Piyush Pandey thinks that a foreign brand can be a double-edged sword. If it doesn’t deliver its promise, it is doomed to bomb. He says that consumers cannot be fooled as they are not stupid. If one claims to be an Italian brand and doesn’t deliver the Italian quality, consumers won’t buy it. Pandey points out that there are international brands with Indian names too. But, only names cannot be sold, it is the quality that matters. Just by labeling brand with foreign names, Indian brands will not become a foreign brand and vice-versa. For example, French jewelry house Boucheron that has a perfume exotically branded Jaipur. Calling it Jaipur doesn’t make it an Indian brand, he said.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Tanneries halt raw leather processing due to Kumbh Mela

District administration and state government's concerted efforts in the wake of this year's Mahakumbh have started yielding results. While several tanneries in Jajmau have altogether stopped the treatment process of raw leather in their units, other tanneries have decided to suspend the process in their units from January 9, 2013.

According to Small Tanners Association, processing of raw leather takes about 12 days' time. Hafeezur Rehman, president of Small Tanners Association said the tanneries would either remain closed during Kumbh or continue with work other than leather processing in their products.
He said with the tanneries suspending the processing of raw leather for one and a half months in the wake of Kumbh fair at Allahabad, a large number of workers would be affected. Around 15 thousand temporary workers would be unemployed during the period, he said. Some tanneries have already planned to shift their workforce to dry leather work while others had no alternative other than closure of their units, he said. The president informed that only big tanneries had dry work facilities while the smaller one had no such type of work.

Meanwhile, some export units said that since they had to fulfill their export orders in time, they would get their leather processed from Chennai. Ehsanullah, proprietor, East West tanners said, "We had closed the process work in our tanneries and permanent staff has been shifted to dry work sections. Remaining have been asked to take rest till the tannery resumes normal operations."

Oriental leather finishers informed that they had closed their six processing units. The state government had asked the tanneries and other industries situated on the bank of river Ganges to check discharge of waste into the river to help in improving the quality of river water.

A meeting between additional district magistrate (City) and tannery owners had taken place on December 24 and it was decided that all the tanneries would shut down their work from January 10, 2013. The tanneries are likely to be closed till March 9 as Hindu festival Maha Shivratri would be held during this period. Earlier, it was decided to close the tannery units from January 5.According to administrative sources, the district administration has constituted seven teams to keep a tab on tanneries. Each team had officials from water department and pollution control board, he added.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Future Group to buy minority stake in footwear company Tresmode

The Kishore Biyani-promoted Future Group will increase its presence in the retail business by acquiring a significant minority stake in Mumbai-based footwear retail company Tresmode, soon after exiting its non-core businesses. Future Ventures, the group company which invests in emerging businesses, is in advanced talks to buy 25% stake in Tresmode, valuing the footwear retailer at 180 crore, said two persons with direct knowledge of the transaction.

"A formal announcement is expected shortly," said one of the persons quoted above. Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani and Tresmode promoter Kapil Mahtani declined to comment.

The deal, if successful, will put Tresmode among a raft of lifestyle companies in which Future Group holds a stake. The retail major provided capital to fuel growth in emerging companies, including ethnic wear retailer Biba, fashion retailer Anita Dnogre's company AND as it seeks to nurture emerging players in the lifestyle retail sector.

Tresmode, started in 2007 with the first flagship store in Mumbai, plans to expand its retail presence as footwear market in India is growing at the rate of 13% per annum, according to footwear industry officials. The company has set up retail outlets in metros and overseas destinations like Kathmandu.

The domestic footwear market in India is worth 25,000 crore with organised retail accounting for close to 35% of the total share. Venture Capital and private equity funds have been showing interest in acquiring stakes in footwear majors. ET had recently reported that India Value Fund was in talks to buy out 26% stake in women's footwear brand Catwalk Worldwide for 100 crore.

The acquisition of Tresmode will help the group get its focus back on its core retail business after divesting a string of non-core assets. Its non-banking finance company Future CapitalBSE -1.32 % was recently sold to private equity major Warburg Pincus, helping to cut total debts from 7,500 crore to 2,300 crore.

Kishore Biyani had recently said that the group's businesses would be divided into three different listed entities. While Future Retail will house hypermarket and supermarket businesses such as Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar, brand and lifestyle businesses such as Central and Brand Factory will converge under Future Fashion.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Metro Shoes steps up store expansion

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Metro Shoes Ltd is accelerating the pace at which it’s opening stores because retail space rentals are lower and the company seeks to capture a bigger share of India’s fast-growing footwear market.

The Mumbai-based footwear retailer plans to more than double the number of its outlets to 421 by March 2015 from 161 stores currently.

“Because of the (weak) market sentiment, we are getting good retail space at lower prices, especially in tier II cities such as Patiala, Nagpur, Ranchi and Patna. We are getting good deals,” executive director Farah Malik Bhanji said in an interview.

The company, which sold a 15% stake to investor Jhunjhunwala in 2007, will spend Rs.60-70 lakh to open a store, or Rs.156-182 crore overall, on furniture and stock over the next three years, Bhanji said. Metro Shoes, a debt-free company, will fund its expansion through accumulated profits at least till the next year.

Metro doesn’t have any immediate plans for a public issue. “It’s a little premature (to talk about an IPO),” Bhanji said. “We’d probably be able to answer that in a year’s time.”
The company, which operates Metro, Mochi and MSL footwear stores, was started in 1977 by entrepreneur Rafique Malik, who is the managing director. Bhanji is his daughter.
Metro expects to nearly double its sales to Rs.1,095 crore by 2014-15 from Rs.547 crore last year.
“It’s been a challenging year, (but) we’ve maintained same-store sales growth at 10%,” Bhanji said. “We haven’t seen the downward trend long enough to cut back on any costs, whether it is advertising or store openings.”

The Indian footwear industry, dominated by the likes of Bata India Ltd and Liberty Shoes Ltd, is valued at Rs.22,000 crore, according to a 2012 report by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India. The market is growing at an annual average of about 15% and will likely be worth as much as Rs.38,700 crore by 2015, the report said.

Footwear is one of the more organized sectors in retail in India with modern trade accounting for about 40% of the overall market, said Ankur Bisen, vice-president of retail at Technopak Advisors Pvt. Ltd, a consultant.

“This year, sales of aspirational footwear products have been subdued as discretionary spending has slowed, but need-based footwear like chappals, or working shoes, or school shoes have grown steadily. And companies like Metro, Bata and Liberty get a large chunk of their sales from mass products like those,” Bisen said.

Bhanji said that the company’s sales will grow over 25% to Rs.687 crore in the year to 31 March, helped by strong demand for men’s footwear.

“We’ve seen faster growth in men’s footwear this year compared with women’s. In ladies (footwear), we haven’t seen a major change in consumption patterns,” she said. “However, the way men are buying footwear has definitely changed. I would never have thought that I’d be selling orange men’s shoes, lime green men’s shoes—these were unheard of a few years ago.”

Men’s shoes account for nearly 60% of Metro’s sales, while women’s footwear contributes up to 36%; children’s shoes account for the rest.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Planet Sports ties up with Australian footwear brand Pluggers

Multi-brand sports and lifestyle retail chain Planet Sports has tied up with the Australian-based casual footwear brand Pluggers to exclusively distribute its footwear in India. The international brand will be available across all Planet Sports outlets including select Central Malls and Pantaloon stores across the country.

India is the first country outside Australia that the brand has decided to venture into. The India launch of Pluggers is the first phase in promoting the brand globally with further launches planned in other countries in the coming year. Planet Sports will begin with making Pluggers available in the metros and then gradually into the tier 2 and 3 cities. The footwear will be priced between Rs 399 and Rs 499.

Commenting on the association, Ajay Chablani, Business Head, Planet Sports, said: “Planet Sports is proud to be the exclusive partner to this iconic Australian footwear brand in India. In India there is a growing inclination to sporting casual footwear as part of one’s ensemble. We see this trend of wearing flip-flops catching on and I am sure that it would be equally popular in India as it has been on the Gold Coast in Australia.”

Kevin Pietersen, Co-Promoter, Pluggers, said that the brand is proud to associate with Planet Sports. "We felt that India would be the ideal country in terms of beginning our global foray. There is such a vibrant, growing, and discerning young market out here so it was imperative for us to be present here. More importantly was the need for a better distribution network for our products. Planet Sports has a national presence and, therefore, the ideal partner for our footwear.”

Planet Sports, a division of Future Lifestyle Fashion, has over 41 stores spread across 25 cities. The store offers sports footwear, apparel, accessories, and equipment across various categories. The retailer is also present in select Central (21 stores) and Pantaloons stores (25 stores).

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Students device 'robotic sandal' for women to tackle crimes

In the backdrop of rising cases of crime against women, four Thane students have come up with a 'Robotic sandal' for the rescue of women in distress.

Four students of class VII and IX have made a ladies sandal by fitting certain devices at the bottom of the normal footwear used by women.
The device consists of a metallic rivet having a voltage of 5V.

While displaying the 'robotic sandal' before media yesterday, the children showed that in time of distress, if the sandal is hit twice on the ground, it gets activated, triggering a wireless alarm connected to the instrument, which can be ideally kept in a bag or purse.

The moment the alarm is set off, the device sends alert SMSes to already specified numbers and the location of the woman in distress can easily be detected.

Also, it was claimed that if a woman hits the assaulter with the sandal, it gives a shock to him as the rivet is activated.

The gadget first came to limelight during a competition held in Thane last month where children had to showcase the scientific gadgets made by them.

Later, the four children who made the 'robotic sandal' - Siddharth Wani of class 9th from Maratha Mandir School, Sambahvi Joshi and Chinmay Marathe of class 7th from A K Joshi School and Chinmay Jadhav of class 9th from Mount Marys Kalher - were supported in their endeavour by a city-based private organisation, Children's Tech Centre, which promotes children talent and scientific activities.

The centre imparted them vigorous training in robotics following which the group of students improvised upon their gadget and made it worth for use, said Purushottam Pachpande, the managing director of Children's Tech Centre.

Tested by about half-a-dozen women, this sandal costs Rs 2,000, he said, adding that it is not being commercially produced.

On the occasion, the children told mediapersons that amid increasing cases of crime against women, people were resorting to defence mechanisms like keeping a weapon, taking karate classes or carrying pepper sprays and chilly powder, but this device is better.

"The gadget would prove to be a better defence weapon in times of need," they said.

The students also said that while going out, one may sometimes forget to carry his/her cellphone or other defence alternatives, but sandal is one thing that women will hardly forget to wear while stepping out, that is why they thought of incorporating this gadget on a footwear.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Turnover rises but Nike profits slump in the UK

PROFITS have fallen at Nike (UK) Ltd, the Sunderland-headquartered distribution arm of the global sportswear brand, despite a rise in turnover.

The company, whose head office is based on the Doxford International Business Park in the city, posted a 28% drop in pre-tax profit to £7.8m in the year to May 31, 2012. Operating profit also fell from £11.6m in 2011 to £8m last year.

Nike’s smaller profits came despite turnover rising to £78.4m, compared with £70.4m in the year to May 31, 2011. The performance was described as “satisfactory” by the company’s directors.

They added that the loss included an £2.3m exceptional charge that related to a “provision for restructuring as part of a western European realignment of work practices and resources within the Nike brand”.

Underlying administrative expenses also increased as a result of additional marketing investment in the year, including campaigns in the build-up to the London 2012 Olympics.

Nike (UK) acts as the UK agent for the distribution of the brand’s footwear, apparel and accessories. It employs more than 280 staff from its North East base.

The company’s overall parent is Nike Inc, which in December reported a 7% rise in global revenues to $6bn in the three months to November 30, 2012. Net profit fell 18%to $384m compared with the same period a year earlier.

Mark Parker, president and chief executive of Nike Inc, said: “We have a focused and flexible portfolio that allows us to target the biggest growth opportunities at all levels - brand, category and product.

“We stay connected with our consumers and that enables us to deliver innovations that excite the market.”

Friday, 4 January 2013

Nike’s romance with cricket continues

It's not a single product model, nor a single manager, nor one ad, nor a single celebrity, not even a single innovation that is key to Nike. It is the people of Nike, and their unique and creative way of working together" – Phil Knight, Chairman of the Board and Nike Co-Founder.

The sports brand has set the bar high and has managed to raise it higher through memorable advertising campaigns. From cashing in on the Olympic fever and getting ahead of arch rival Adidas through the ‘Find your Greatness’ campaign to passing the torch to the next generation of sports heroes through ‘The Chosen’ campaign, Nike’s campaigns have garnered maximum eyeballs.
One cannot forget the magic of the ‘Write the Future’ campaign that allowed Nike to show how football creates a ripple effect that goes beyond the match and the tournament. The brand highlighted the game of one goal, one pass, one game saving tackle that can be the difference between fame and forgotten. Though not the official sponsor of the 2012 London Olympics, in ambush mode Nike launched its ‘Find your Greatness’ campaign in 25 countries, featuring everyday athletes competing in places around the world named London.

In India, Nike has capitalised on the country’s craze for cricket and cleverly captured the pulse of the nation.

Nike India launched the nationwide ‘Bleed Blue’ cricket initiative aimed at harnessing the passion of millions of Indians and the Indian Cricket team by proving that 'Blue' is not just a colour, but a a billion hopes, dreams and aspirations. The Indian fan's passion and dedication inspired him/ her to leave his blue hand print on sheets of fabric that Nike sent across various locations in the country.

Further, this campaign was extended on to the digital platform for fans who may choose to express their support digitally, through Facebook and the Nikecricket website. Participants generated their own digital handprints through Facebook connect by simply logging on to the Nikecricket site and entering their Facebook user ID and password. The platform ensured relevant information from the participant's Facebook profile to generate a blue handprint. Bleed Blue Pledge featured elite cricket athletes such as Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, S Sreesanth, Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir, describing the tenets of their game.

‘Blood, sweat and blue’ was the idea of JWT India for the campaign. Blood and sweat represents the hard work and determination of the players and the blue colour was opted because of the blue jerseys of Team India. This was followed up with ‘Yards’ that was based on the insight that in India, the cricket that's played on the streets gives birth to the cricket played in stadiums.

After the historic ICC Cricket World Cup victory by Team India, Nike launched the third ad film, titled 'United by Blue'. The ad portrayed the passion of a country united through cricket and the realisation of the much-awaited 28-year long dream. It showed kids celebrating the victory with equal passion as the national team that brought laurels to the world's greatest cricket nation.

Then came the effortless, natural and superbly edited ‘Nike’s Parallel Journeys’ commercial, which is part of the company’s Bleed Blue campaign. The ad begins with ordinary Indians waking up to the same routine as members of the Indian cricket team. They wake up, get dressed for practice, travel, train intensively, and come to the pitch amid the cries of frenzied crowds, living parallel lives. The ad travels the length and breadth of the country, capturing the determination and aspiration through the eyes of every young cricketer, while also depicting a similar journey that Team India’s elite athletes, including Kohli, Zaheer, Ajinkya Rahane, R Ashwin, Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, take to uphold their dream to represent their country.

Cricket is the only sport that is worshipped, played and watched religiously by two-thirds of this country. So it makes sense for the brand to associate with the sport and have a strike rate better than other brands. Nike’s ads have always struck a chord with the audience and have been loved by one and all. The brand has won at least a dozen-odd Grand Prix in award shows and categories due to the brilliant insights, powerful ideas and spectacular execution. Hence, it can be said that they just did it!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

French sports goods retailer Decathlon to set up shops in India

French sports goods giant, Decathlon, is planning to enter the Indian market as a single-brand retail chain, it is learnt.

Currently present in the country as a cash-and-carry or wholesale operator, Decathlon has written to the government proposing to open retail stores in India, similar to the 20 other countries that it conducts business in.
This is the first time that a cash-and-carry player has formally sought to go retail in India. Single-brand retail, which till a year ago had an foreign direct investment ( FDI) cap of 51 per cent, can now be fully foreign-owned, thereby encouraging international chains to foray into India. In multi-brand retail, 51 per cent FDI was allowed recently. So far, many international retail chains operated only in the cash-and-carry category, as it did not impose any FDI limit on companies.

The company, which runs wholesale stores in India, did not reply to a questionnaire sent by Business Standard. Cash-and-carry stores can sell their products only to their members — company, association, institution, retailer or reseller.

Decathlon is among the largest sports goods retailers of the world, with its annual revenue estimated at over euro 6.5 billion. Its stores, around 600 of them around the world, are known for their large formats spread over 4,000 sq m and also for experience areas in various sports like soccer, badminton, tennis and basketball.

The French chain, which was founded in 1976, has separate brand names for the various categories it sells—Aptonia for nutrition and healthcare, Artengo for racket sports, Caperlan for fishing, Domyos for fitness, dance, martial arts and contact sports, Fouganza for horse riding, Geologic for outdoor sports, and Newfeel for walking, among others .

So far, the only significant single-brand FDI proposal has come from Swedish furniture major, IKEA. The euro 25-billion company wants to invest euro 1.5 billion in India over the next few years, but its application was recently cleared by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board ( FIPB) with the condition that it cannot open cafes and restaurants along with the furniture stores. Also, more than 50 per cent of IKEA’s proposed list of product categories was struck down by FIPB. The board is set to review its decision soon.

UK-based footwear company Pavers is the only company to have got an approval from the government so far to operate a fully-owned single brand retail chain in India.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Brand Equity's Most Exciting Brands 2013: How Adidas, Nokia and Blackberry have trounced market leaders

What's a survey without a few surprises? Among the curveballs thrown in the first edition of Most Exciting Brands are a few marketers who have given global (and sometimes even local) market leaders a trouncing

Adidas is the second most exciting brand, with Reebok (also owned by Adidas) at 8, beating the world's most popular sporting goods brand Nike at 33. In the mobile handset space, Nokia at 6 and BlackBerry at 10 are considered more exciting than Samsung Mobile that hangs shy of the Top 10 at 12 or the iPhone which is at a distant 35.

While Adidas declined to comment on the results, the brand has a long history of engagement with cricket particularly with Sachin Tendulkar, India's Most Admired Sportsperson.

Perhaps the greatest and most successful advertisement for the brand is seeing Tendulkar step out to bat for the last decade and a half wearing Adidas ST shoes, a co-branded range. Realising that backing just one sport — however iconic and mass popular — is unlikely to pay off in the long run, Adidas has increased its focus on football with training programmes from Chelsea FC and FC Bayern Munich. It recently sponsored Basscamp, an electronic music festival held in Mumbai and Delhi, making a serious entry into a more youth lifestyle oriented space.
In the case of Reebok, Steve McPherson, brand director, Reebok India says, "Our youth centric activities predominantly revolve around social media. We have a simple strategy 'Be Exciting. Not Intrusive.'" Some of these include 'Tone My Avatar' on Facebook which allows people to follow the lead of a virtual persona to burn a few calories. Reebok created what it claims is the first ever online flash mob by uploading a series of videos sent in by users demonstrating their flexibility via dance.

Besides it has started a series of branded gyms in Delhi and Mumbai and aims to enter all categories of fitness from the usual suspects like running and aerobics to the more exotic, like yoga and dance.

The survey comes as good news for both brands especially considering they found themselves in the midst of a controversy through mid 2012, the full impact of which continues to unfold. The global operations of Adidas alleged fraud that it estimates to be to the tune of Rs 870 crore. A recent audit report by E&Y indicates fake sales deliberately engineered to show exaggerated revenues for the Indian operations of Reebok.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Fossil plans to set up shop

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) will soon consider high-end accessories manufacturer Fossil Inc's proposal to enter the single-brand retail segment.

"Fossil's application had come and it plans to investment Rs 20 crore ($3.7 million)... In all likelihood, it should be considered in the next FIPB meeting," department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) secretary Saurabh Chandra said.

With over 390 stores worldwide and a strong global e-commerce business, Fossil is known for its assortment of lifestyle and accessory items, including watches, handbags, and clothing.

The US-based firm also creates fashion accessories for a number of other licensed brands, including MICHELE, Zodiac, Relic, Emporio Armani, DKNY, Armani Exchange, Michael Kors, Diesel, Burberry, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Adidas, Skagen Denmark and Karl Lagerfeld.

Sources said apart from Fossil, there were several other proposals for setting up 100 per cent single-brand investment that are in the pipeline and would be considered soon by the DIPP before being sent to the FIPB for clearance.

At present, Fossil India sells watches from its portfolio of international brands through shops run by Shoppers Stop and Lifestyle department stores. It also imports and sells leather goods and eyewear in India.

The accessories manufacturer is the third foreign single-brand retailer to apply to set up wholly owned operations in the country.

Since the opening of the single brand retail sector, the FIPB has cleared the proposals of Swedish furniture-maker IKEA and British footwear retailer Pavers England. It had also cleared a 51 per cent joint venture of American luxury clothing retailer Brooks Brothers and Italian jewellery maker Damiani's plan to form a venture with the Mehta's.

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