Daniel Poppleton, International Director, Cath Kidston shares his franchise strategy and plans to expand in the country
Is it the right time for you to enter India or could it have been a few years earlier?
We are relatively a small company and we can’t do all the things simultaneously. We knew both from the increasing online sales from India and inquiries from potential partners in the market that the product was popular there and took the decision at the beginning of the year 2016 to explore the opportunities for a franchise operation in the country. By the end of the year, we have opened two stores in India (Mumbai and New Delhi), with plans to open more in the future.
How will your prices in India compare with that in the other markets?
Pricing is always a decision for the local partner to make, but we are always there to help and advice if needed. India is priced in a similar fashion to a number of the other Asian franchise markets, though of course is a little more expensive than the UK as a result of the duties incurred in brining product into the market.
The franchise model is one that has worked well for us in other markets. It enables us to combine our expertise of the brand with those from Planet Retail Holding, who are regional experts with a wealth of knowledge in the region. When you enter a new market, it is a good to partner with a franchise company who is well known in that territory and that has good, pre-established relationships for example, with landlords.
What’s the brand’s market positioning and target audience in India?
The great thing about Cath Kidston is that we are multi-category – we have products across homeware, fashion, accessories and kids. This means we are diversified and appeal to a wide age range. We believe that this appeal of the Cath Kidston brand will be similar in India as it is in other countries.
Do you see competition from the strong local market?
There is always competition but we are a quintessentially British brand with unique prints, designs and overall proposition – as such we don’t often have a direct competitor, which our customers love.
What advice can you offer other companies planning to enter India?
We do a lot of homework before we enter a new market. My first piece of advice would be around being clear on the model by which you intend to trade in the market, or indeed in any new market. In India, franchise remains a very popular approach for bringing new brands to market and therefore your key decision will be around partner.