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Sep, 12 2018

PUTTING THE BEST FOOT FORWARD

German sportswear brand PUMA made its India entry in 2006. The brand’s Managing Director Abhishek Ganguly says the company aims to continue dominating the sports performance market in India, by Sharmila Das

How has been your brand adding variation and innovation to keep up with the new-age consumers?

Today’s customers demand not just variety in products but also look for innovative designs and new functionalities in every product they look to own. Our success on these factors has attracted consumers from different age groups to our stores. We have an endless aisle in stores that offers the consumers a range of products to pick from. Our research and development is constantly churning out innovative products. Our positioning which targets young consumers and focuses on future developments has been able to drive great success in e-commerce as well. We are in a leading position in an extremely dynamic environment where consumer behaviour is always evolving. Maintaining leadership position is often more difficult than the journey of reaching there. We have to be a brand which is progressive as well as engaging for our consumers in a future-relevant manner. I am confident that as a company we have the ammunition and attitude to keep developing and keep marching forward.

Who are your closest competitors now?

I think our biggest competition is us. While we compete with other brands in the market like Nike and Adidas, etc., we also strive to ensure that our existing consumers get something exciting for their next purchase by consistently offering a better product experience. We must have the ability to delight not just our customers, but also surprise ourselves with unique and improved products.

How has franchising contributed to the success of the brand?

PUMA believes that franchising is a great way to expand that offers speed to quickly penetrate in secondary and tertiary markets with diverse local conditions. We have a very robust model that ensures consistent support to our partners and maintains highest quality standards in line with our global operations. There is no denying the fact that franchising helps you optimize operations with a reduced risk, but it has to be equally lucrative to both the parties. Franchisees are also a great source of feedback from the market from various categories of consumers and many a times help us seed product, operations and business innovations. I am very satisfied with our progress in penetrating into various markets with the right partners.

Going forward, what would be your expansion and investment plans?

PUMA is the fastest sports brand in the world and PUMA India is on a high-growth trajectory. A key player in the sports and sports lifestyle space, India is a market of focus for the brand. PUMA aspires to continue to dominate the sports performance market in the country. It’s not about the numbers. We are always scouting for the right opportunity. It is all about having
the right partners and locations which ensures we nail our sales numbers right.

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