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Feb, 04 2016

Unveiling gateways for the foreign innerwear brands

The Indian lingerie market has opened gateways for many international brands that have recently forayed via the franchise route.

As per the research report of of 2012, “The Indian innerwear market which was valued at Rs 14,000 crore and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13% during 2010-2020. Of the Rs 14,000 crore innerwear market, the men's innerwear market accounts for Rs 5,800 crore and the women's market size is currently Rs 8,500 crore.” Let's browse through the role of international lingerie brands, who have contributed to the growing innerwear market via the franchise route.

ITH increasing disposable income and customers' spending power for more quality products, the market for innerwear has grown tremendously and the product category has increased manifold. Though the industry is decked up with various unorganised players, the acceleration in demand for quality products has created big market for the international inner wear players in the Indian arena. The organised sector covers one-third of the market and is segmented as economy, mid-price, premium and super-premium.

Market at glance 

The estimated value of the Indian innerwear market as per the report is expected to touch Rs 44,000 crore by 2020. Improving Indian demographics and increased preference for proper fits, sizes, etc. lend credence to the growth of organised players in the Indian innerwear market. The share of the organised segment in the overall pie has increased from 13 per cent in 2005 to 16 per cent in 2010 and the same is expected to go up to 40 per cent in 2020. The premium and super-premium category in both the men's and women's segment has witnessed a higher growth than other segments.

Brands foraying India via franchising

A successful business is achieved via detailed analysis, involvement and most importantly, planning. And franchising masters all these. That is why this business model is proving to be a great launchpad for the foreign innerwear brands in India. Although, various international lingerie brands are retailing via the distributorship model in India but a few players are opting for franchise as their business model for expansion. The lingerie industries with several international brands have set up a strong franchising network. They are expanding with rapid pace and have strong foothold in metros and tier-I and II cities.

Sri Lanka's premium lingerie brand amanté, a subsidiary of MAS Holdings, South Asia's largest supplier of niche market intimate wear, has recently launched its first store in Thane, Mumbai. The brand is operating in the Indian market since 2007 but now plans to have around 25 stores across the country by the end of 2017 via the franchise route. Smita Murarka, Head- Marketing & E-Commerce, MAS Brands says: “Primarily the focus will be on metros and mini metros and then we will move to the tier II markets. 

After opening five stores we will come to know whether we have to go aggressive with the store expansion. We are expecting at least 15% growth from these stores every year. We are launching one store every month in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Pune, Bangalore, Chandigarh among others. We will be launching one store this year in Mumbai, 12 to 14 stores by the end of 2016 and around 25 stores by 2017 end.” Presently, amanté is supplying to 1000 MBOs and aims to increase that number by 50^ next year.

Another international brand, Marks & Spencer (M&S) has also come up with its standalone Lingerie and Beauty store to offer a dedicated lingerie and beauty shopping experience. Complementing its trend-led design, M&S offers an extensive breath of lingerie styles, shapes and sizes. Though the brand does not franchise but shares a word on how the Indian market has created great business grounds for international lingerie brands, “The lingerie market presents us with an exciting growth opportunity and our smaller Lingerie & Beauty store format with a smaller store footprint allows us to access prime shopping locations. With our Lingerie & Beauty store we have also been able to extend the reach of our brand.”

New brand on the shelves

Recently, two new lingerie brands have ventured into the Indian marketplace. Hunkemöller, a Dutch lingerie brand opened its first store in India at New Delhi and has entered Indian market through a franchise agreement with Reliance Brand Limited. The brand has a strong market base in Europe and provides a fashionable yet comfortable mix of lingerie, nightwear, hosiery, swim wear, beauty products and accessories.

Meanwhile, Thailand-based diversified, USD 9 Billion conglomerate Saha Group, eyes on Indian market to introduce Wienna, brand of premium and functional lingerie products. Wien International Company Limited, part of Saha Group, has appointed Belle Intimates as its distribution partner for India. “We at Belle Intimates, plan to appoint franchisees in all the major Indian cities and towns. We aim to operate about 20 stores in 15 cities through this route in the first four years. The brand has been selling through franchise model in East Asian and West Asian countries. Anyone with a good social background and network will be preferred as a franchisee,” says Mallika Shah, Vice President, and Business Development & Strategy for Belle Intimates.

Other leading players

= Triumph International has been operational in India since 2002 and started franchising in 2009.
= Bwitch also extends its franchise apart from having company owned and presence multi-brand stores.
= Jockey India under the umbrella of Page Industries Ltd., located in Bangalore, are the exclusive licensees of Jockey International Inc. (USA) for manufacture and distribution of the Jockey brand innerwear and leisurewear for men and women in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and UAE.

Four segments and the brands of Indian lingerie market:

= Economy - Daisy Dee, Juliet, Red Rose
= Mid market - Hanes, Jockey, FOTL, Daisy Dee, Juliet, Red Rose
= Premium - Hanes, Jockey, FOTL, Enamor, Amante
= Super premium - Triumph, Bwitch

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