Asics to offer more products in apparels, footwear
Known for its celebrity users such as Barack Obama and Bruce Lee, Asics entered India in 2010 with an exclusive five-year tie-up with Reliance Retail. Since 2015, it has embarked on a standalone journey.
According to Rajat Khurana, Managing Director, Asics India, athleisure will be an obvious choice with focus on both men and womenswear.
Athleisure refers to clothes that are worn to the gym and also double up as casual wear. These include joggers, sweat-shorts, t-shirts and even footwear. An increasing number of celebrities sporting these apparels and the rise of marathons have made the clothing line popular.
Clubbed along with the sportswear category in India, the athleisure segment is dominated by Nike, Adidas and Puma. Sportswear is a ₹7,000-crore market here.
“We will continue to focus on technology and look to increase presence across categories such as athleisure. Performance clothing continues to be our focus,” he told BusinessLine.
Apparels and accessories currently account for 15-20 per cent of the Asics’ turnover in India, and the idea is to take it to 20-25 per cent over a period of time.
The sportswear brand is also looking to expand the footwear range. While ‘technology-backed’ running shoes have been its strong point in India, it is now expanding presence in other categories like football boots (spikes) and cricket. Badminton or court shoes are another area.
“The width of offerings too will go up,” he said.
Local sourcing, which at present is around 10 per cent, focussing primarily on entry-level offerings in footwear and apparels, is also expected to go up.
“Maybe in another 3-5 years, local sourcing could go up to 30 per cent. But, local production will also depend on factors like how the infrastructure for the technology used in our footwear develops here,” Khurana said.
Market sources say ‘gel technology’ that Asics uses in its footwear continues be amongst its USPs.
Asics will look to shore up store presence too. The company plans to end the fiscal with 37 stores; and add another 15-16 stores in next fiscal. All stores are franchisee-owned. This apart, it will explore the possibility of tie-ups with premium gyms.
Focus will be on expanding across both Tier-I and -II cities.
Some of the smaller cities that the company plans to tap include Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Jalandhar, Patiala, Nashik, Pune and Coimbatore, among others.