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Who doesn't wish to be dressed up to the nines while going on an official meet or casual outing? Just like women, men too love to wear their best bib and tucker. As Indian men too are turning out to be more eager to experiment with their attire & accessor
HAVE you ever peeped into a man's closet? You'll no longer find identical pairs of trousers, jeans, shirts or tees of almost similar colours, style and sizes. Men want to look dapper and now they are unstoppable, as a host of brands catering to premium and super premium segments have started making their way into the menswear market in India. Thanks to the sudden gush in disposable incomes, men are changing their outlook towards buying the trendiest garb (formals and casuals) and are experiencing a greater brand consciousness. With these developments, the menswear industry is experiencing a marked shift from tailor-made to ready-to-wear brands.
About the propelling factors behind the growth of the menswear market in India, Ramesh Poddar, Chairman & Managing Director, Siyaram Silk Mills Ltd, says: “Change in lifestyle, growth of urban areas, a buoyant economy, upsurge in per capita consumption and global exposure have created immense opportunities.”
Nowadays, the men's ready-to-wear segment has finally got its new gleam back and all applause go to the premium and high-end luxury labels vying to attire and accessorise the brand conscious men in the Indian market. Also, the boom in high-end labels and tie-ups of renowned brands with e-commerce sites are further helpful in creating a better brand visibility in the online space too. According to a report by Technopak, the size of menswear market in India is about Rs 72,000 crore and is growing at a CAGR of 9 per cent per annum. At this rate, it is estimated to reach a size of Rs 1, 76,000 crore by 2020, opening up opportunities galore in the market.
For most brands franchising has given a boost to expand their horizons within and beyond the national boundaries. Menswear brands in India are all set to offer a plethora of business opportunities to franchisees having a sound financial background, along with experience in the retail industry. Says Ramesh Poddar of Siyaram Silk Mills Ltd: “Our main objective is to establish mutually beneficial relations with all our franchisees. The brand has top of the mind recall and connect. Franchising provides us an opportunity for accelerated growth across the country. The franchisees have an in-depth understanding of local trends and preferences. They are also in a better position to handle local operations and bring their entrepreneurial passion to the store.”
For Jacob John, Brand Head at Louis Philippe, franchising is at the core of their retail strategy. He says: “We work with different types of franchisee-principal relationships in our effort to provide the best value to our partners as well.”
About the target group they wish to tap, he adds: “Our target group is the status-conscious male in the age group of 25-40, someone who feels he is a notch above others in terms of style, fashion and attitude. They are also early adopters of style and fashion.”
As for Raymond, their strength has been the direct retail presence through the 700 exclusive stores spread across 300 cities in India and abroad. Besides providing deeper consumer access, this large network of retail outlets has contributed to building lasting relationships with the local business community. “The successful franchise model has ensured that The Raymond Shop franchising fraternity now extends to the second and third generation of families. Today, approximately 80% of the total business comes from franchise stores/outlets,” says Rakesh Pandey, President, Retail and Business Development, Raymond. For franchisee selection, Raymond's prefers to partner with franchisees that have a sound financial background, preferably from the retail industry, and are reasonably qualified.
Offering qualitative services on a par with industry standards should be every brand's core strategy. For maintaining standards, Siyaram's conducts regular training to equip its staff with product knowledge and consumer orientation that is a prime requisite in their format, as they become the face of the brand.
Roll out prospects
On spreading their retail presence, Rakesh Pandey of Raymond says: “The Raymond Shop has always been at the forefront of Indian retail development. Expanding the franchise model and pioneering small city retail access will be key drivers so as to enhance our retail presence across the country. All our current developments are in keeping with the tradition of innovation and being a pioneer, both of which have been the cornerstone of The Raymond Shop's sustained progress through all these years.” At present Raymond has 586 operational franchise stores in India. For opening a Raymond outlet, the investment ranges from Rs 50 lakh to almost a crore per store, depending on the tier of the city and the size of the store.
In case of Siyaram's, the company boasts of 105 franchise and 15 company-owned outlets in its brand portfolio. About their further plans, Poddar says: “Siyaram's Fashion Avenue is mainly in tier II and III cities and some select metros, and we are planning to open 50 more franchise stores by December 2012. These stores will be mainly franchisee-owned and franchisee- operated.”
For opening a Siyaram's Fashion Avenue store, the franchisee will require an investment between Rs 18 lakh and Rs 25 lakh and a carpet area of 600-1,500 sq ft.
However, John says: “We are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to increase our brand presence and now there is a thrust to start looking at tier I and II cities as well, apart from metros, for future growth.”
Position it right
From choosing a perfect location that assures high customer footfall and bigger returns to selling the right kind of merchandise at right prices, all in all, creates a long lasting image in the customer's mind. To have a leg up on competitors, brands need to strategically position themselves in the customer's mind so as to make fast bucks. In terms of brand positioning, Siyaram's has strategised a holistic marketing campaign which encompasses a blend of national and local marketing communication programmes for maximum impact.
It's not the time to make wrong moves, rather it's time for big guns in India's menswear industry to bring in more stylish merchandise at right prices so as to woo more customers with an intent of inviting them to their stores, paving the way for the earning of more revenues.