Retail franchise Jan, 24 2011

Routing Profits the Ethnic Style

Indians love for traditional fashion wear and rich cultural heritage of the country has made occasions like marriage, festivals, anniversaries and birthday celebrations very special. Clothes always top the list of shopping during such events thus creating

By Abha Garyali
Sub Editor
Routing Profits the Ethnic Style

No can deny the fact that western wear is a preferred choice of Indians especially working class these days, still when it comes to special occasions like festivals or weddings only ethnic wear has its monopoly. Cashing on this trend are the retailers and franchisors dealing with ethnic clothes. In the coming three to four years span ethnic wears market is expected to reach Rs 45,000 crore.

Ethnic Women Wear: on an upswing

Ethnic wear is a term used to include variety of traditional Indian wear like saris, salwar-kameez, lehenga-choli, sherwanis, kurtas, etc. The preference of Indians for traditional clothing has encouraged lot of brands to make inroads in the ethnic wear segment. Though majority of the market is still dominated by unoraginsed players however, now the organised players have also made their presence felt.

The few factors which have fuelled the growth in this sector are growing number of working women, changing fashion trends, popularity of designer wear, rising level of information and media exposure giving rise to brand consciousness, grand weddings and festivals, expansion in tourism industry with lot of foreigners coming to India and last but not the least the willingness to spend due to increased disposable incomes. Considering this growing popularity of the concept lot of successful brands opted for expansion and franchising was the most viable option for the rapid expansion.

Major Franchise Players

As of now the players that are dominating the franchise industry in ethnic wear sector are growing at a very large scale. Here are discussed the prominent players that are franchising in ethnic wear:

Chhabra 555: Chhabra 555 is the leading name in women ethnic wear, offering a wide range of items, comprising lehanga, sarees and suits starting from casual wear to wedding wear. Franchising has been the preferred mode of operation for the brand, which has helped them establish bigger network of efficient team. As said by Asheeta Chhabra, Head-Business Development, Chhabra 555, “We have expanded by opening around 50 outlets across India in the last five or six years, since the company started its dealership model in 2005. We plan to set up around 85 stores by 2012.”

W Women’s Wear: The brand is owned by Delhi-based TCNS Clothing company and was launched eight years back. 'W Women’s Wear' is basically a indo-western apparel brand that presently is available at 60 exclusive stores across 25 cities in India. It is also present in 500 retail points including shop-in-shops. As a part of its future expansion plans in India, the company plans to set up 100 exclusive 'W' stores in the country including tier II and tier III cities by March 2012.The present as well as the new brands will be both a mixture of company owned and franchised stores. The brand is also studying international markets such as UK, the Middle East and the South East Asian countries for its expansion in the future.

Ashika Fashionwear: Ashika Group with its humble beginning in 1975 has been one of the major players in making women wear achieve its present status. Ashika Fashionwear, a retail arm of the Ashika Group, was introduced in 2000, and started franchising in 2008. The brand has steadily grown from three stores to 30 stores in less than two years. Saurabh Agarwal, MD, Ashika Fashionwear states, “Currently we have 60 outlets which are a mix of both company owned as well as franchised. We further plan to expand taking count to 85 by March 2011.”

Anshu's Designer Studio: Anshu's Designer Studio is Ahmedabad based leading fashion house and designer boutique offering online shopping  for Indian ethnic wear including wedding saris, bridal saris, evening wear, party wear, Indian designer wear etc. The brand opted for franchise route recently to inform and generate interest among the fashion conscious women across India about their offerings. Ravi Bhandari, Director, Anshu's Designer Studio informed, “We presently have nine franchised stores and three are being opened shortly. We have plans of opening 12-15 stores in the next three to four months.”

Kathak Fashion Mills: Kathak Fashion Mills has been in the industry since the last 15 years but has taken the franchising route in 2010 looking at the profits in this business model. Jitendra Madaan, Managing Director, Kathak Fashion Mills said, “The company presently has opened eight franchised outlets and has full confidence to take its count to 50 by March 2012.”

Besides these prominent franchisors there are other brands also who have not yet opted for franchise route but are occupying significant place in the ethnic wear industry like Future Group, Shoppers Stop, and Reliance Trends etc.

Franchising: the best foot forward

Expanding via franchise can be the best form of making a brand global as well as making it successful. Chhabra informs, “Franchising has definitely helped in achieving the present success. It can be due to many ways. Franchising reduces capital pressure on the brand, it also makes management easier for the franchisor as the stores are owned by franchisees who take care of management. One major reason for taking the franchise route is for getting the local expertise in the brand while expansion.” Agarwal agrees saying, “Franchising has really benefitted Ashika Fashionwear. We have achieved national success in a short span. It also helps in reducing capital strain required for expansion on the entrepreneur owning the brand.” Bhandari shares the same views quotes, “Franchising is a good way to gain national exposure. Present success of Anshu's Designer Studio is largely due to franchising.”

To conclude it can be aptly said that ethic wear holds a bright future for aspiring as well as emerging and established retailers. Considering the growing trend of franchising in ethnic fashion industry the future seems quite bright for the franchise aspirants.

Related: Scent of a rewarding opportunity via franchising

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