US footwear major Skechers to increase stake in Future Group

Less than three days after getting FIPB approvals for single brand retail in India, American footwear major Skechers India said it will increase its stake in its JV with Kishore Biyani from 49 per cent to 51 per cent. The company also said it plans to start its own e-commerce operations by September.

“The FIPB approvals will help us scale our presence in India both in the retail and e-commerce space,” Rahul Vira, CEO, Skechers India, told BusinessLine.

Asked if the company is looking at exiting the joint venture with Biyani, Vira said: “We are happy with our current partnership and we are not exiting it right now. Since the rules allow us to have 51 per cent stake, we will be increasing the same and use it bring our expertise into the country.”

The company entered India in 2012 through a JV with Kishore Biyani-led Future Group. Currently, it operates 45 mono brand retail outlets through this JV. In addition to this, it also has a cash-and-carry business in India.

“We plan to add over 40 stores by the end of this calendar year. We are also working in establishing our own e-commerce platform. We already sell on third party sites,” he added.

India’s per capita consumption of footwear stands at one pair against seven pairs in developed markets. Vira said it was a huge opportunity for the company as global footwear follows apparels in consumption pattern.

Asked if the company has any plans to source or manufacture in India, Vira said: “we are still evaluating the same. It is not an immediate area of focus for us and we will look at it in the mid to long term.”

Currently, Skechers imports most of the shoes to India. Skechers retails men’s, women’s and kids footwear in the price bracket starting ₹2,700 onwards.

After overtaking established brands like Adidas, Reebok and Puma, Skechers is now the second largest footwear company in the US, next only to Nike. Skechers international revenues stands at $2 billion.

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