Denim is in the DNA of GAS, which makes it stand tall in the cluttering of brands in the Indian apparel market. In an interview, MM Kamath, Director, Gas Jeans Pvt. Ltd shares the future plans of the company.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Shed some light on the inception of GAS Jeans in India?
M Kamath (MMK): GAS entered India in 2006 as a Joint Venture with Raymond which operated for a period of three years, after which both parties felt they were mutually ready to part ways. In 2010, GAS decided to be present directly in India in a cash and carry format, founding GAS Jeans Pvt. Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of Grotto Spa.
RK: What is GAS Jeans all about? What kind of products and services it offers?
MMK: Grotto SpA has designed, manufactured and distributed men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, footwear and accessories collections under the GAS label for more than 25 years. Its mission is to offer quality products that meet the needs of intelligent, discerning, international, cosmopolitan consumers looking for clothes with a contemporary feel that goes beyond the fashion of the moment to express their individuality on every occasion.
RK: What inspired GAS Jeans to take the franchise route to expand its presence in India?
MMK: Keeping in mind the market dynamics, the premium and lifestyle positioning of the brand, understanding the expectance of GAS in the Indian Market with the vast clientele, GAS chose to be in India on its own, having full control of their brand, under the Cash and Carry format. Under this format, we had to take the franchise route to open stores in India.
RK: What will be the eligibility criteria for selecting the franchisees of your company?
MMK: India, with its huge market and growing demand in all sectors of the economy, is an extremely attractive proposition for the growth of global brands like GAS through the franchising route. GAS is definitely looking at a franchise model keeping in mind the market dynamics and the premium and lifestyle positioning of the brand. GAS will partner with carefully selected business associates who share its commercial strategies, lifestyle and values.
RK: How many franchised outlets do you presently have in India? What are your target locations to expand in India?
MMK: We currently have two franchised outlets, one each in Mumbai and Ahmedabad so far. GAS is planning to gradually enlarge and improve its distribution starting with the five new exclusive brand stores in the major cities of India forecasted for 2011. These new outlets are targeted in cities Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Ludhiana and Chandigarh. In the next three years, GAS is also planning to open 12 exclusive brand outlets.
RK: What kind of training and support will a franchisee gets after partnering with your company?
MMK: GAS will offer the franchisee with all the required support, including manpower training for the sales personnel that is line with the premium positioning of the brand and its philosophy.
RK: Have you faced any challenges while establishing the business in India? If yes, what were they and how did you overcome these challenges?
MMK: The biggest challenge that we faced, I would say, is the absurd increase in property prices, especially in metro cities, which is pinching the bottom line and adding undue pressure on operational costs. This is not only discouraging expansion strategies of many brands but it is also making the end products more expensive for the consumers.