Reebok plans to open five more stores in Bengaluru over 12 months
The brand’s India performance had been suffering over the past five years after Adidas discovered suspected financial irregularities by a few members of Reebok India’s former management team. But the company has, over the past year or so, laid out plans to revive the brand in the country.
“There is growth and there is a profitability journey as well. We are in green; that’s good news. Everything looks very positive for the future,” Reebok’s India senior marketing director Silvia Tallon said in an interview.
After the financial controversy was discovered in 2012, Adidas ran Reebok’s India operations for five years rather than have two separate brand heads as it did elsewhere in the world. It also significantly downsized the number of Reebok retail outlets in the country to about 250 stores from over 800 in 2013-14, Mint reported in April 2016. The brand currently has 216 outlets in India.
The firm brought in Tallon to spearhead the process of reviving Reebok in India in April last year. And even though the brand plans to expand its presence in Bengaluru now, Tallon was quick to emphasize it is not going to just open stores en masse.
“I prefer to grow less in terms of (number of) stores at the right size and in the right location with the right qualitative and profitable journey, rather than multiple stores everywhere with a huge space that doesn’t really give me added value. In the past a lot of things were done without any sense so I’m very cautious in the way we are spending now and investing in the right directions,” Tallon said.
The number of people buying athletic products for athletic use, and not just casual wear, is on the rise according to retail consultancy firm Third Eyesight’s chief executive officer Devangshu Dutta. Those kind of customers typically have a higher disposable income and are willing to pay higher prices for better products, he added. That bodes well for brands like Reebok, especially with its change in strategy in India.
The brand has now positioned itself clearly in the fitness space and is targeting women consumers with renewed vigour, which makes India’s top metros—Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi — good destinations for expansion.
“People who buy athletic products for athletic use—those consumers are a little more serious in terms of product research and knowledge and therefore the environment they need to be sold in also needs to be better—bigger stores, better trained staff and more products. All those are more feasible in the larger cities because of the kind of customer concentration that exists (there),” Dutta said.
Reebok plans to launch a line of apparel using innovative new technology created only for women next winter. It also recently released the second edition of its ‘FitToFight’ campaign, targeting women, with Bollywood actor and Reebok brand ambassador Kangana Ranaut. On Monday, it announced that it had brought Shahid Kapoor, another Bollywood actor, on board as brand ambassador along with Ranaut.