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    Hasbro opens Probase stores — Targeting new consumers

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    With the launch of two exclusive brand outlets (EBO) for its recently launched menswear brand Probase, Chennai-based has set a revenue target of over Rs 100 crore in the next three years. Besides, the company plans to have around 130 exclusive Probase stores across the country by the same time.

    Speaking to Indiaretailing, , business head, Hasbro Clothing, informed: “At present, Probase is retailed through over 300 MBOs and 2 EBOs. We are geared towards taking it to a new retail height. The company plans to tremendously increase the number of EBOs in the near future. The retail rollout has begun and it is expected to gain more momentum by April 2008, or even earlier to that.”

    When quizzed about the target audience of Probase, Sharma explained: “Our target group have always preferred tailormade garments and non-branded apparels available in the market. The endeavour is to drive that set of class under the umbrella of Probase. Probase will be our first step in this consumer group’s progression towards eventual brand awareness.”

    According to an apparel industry expert, “The market is getting saturated with many brands with similar lines. It is the right time for retail captains to think differently. Hasbro’s efforts in search of a different set of target audience are praiseworthy. Across tier II and III cities in South India, one can still see a crowd in the tailoring shops, and also many people prefer locally made brands. Hasbro’s success lies in appropriately marking those hotspots and creating brand awareness through various campaigns and advertisements.”

    Priced affordably in the range of Rs 399-899, Probase offers casual, smart and formal lines in shirts and trousers. The two Probase stores that are operational in Salem and Chennai cover a total space of 3,000 square feet. The company is also set to open a 2,500 square feet store in Kozhikode, Kerala, by the end of December.

    Comparing the new brand’s distinguishing factors with Hasbro’s other brands like Genesis and Basics, Sharma said: “While the promise of value, i.e., quality, aspiration, experience, service and awareness, in fashion trends remains the same, Probase will be lower on a price scale; hence, all the features related to this would apply. However the promise on the respective scales would be alike.”

    Out of the 48 outlets it runs, retailing Hasbro’s other brands Genesis and Basics, 11 are franchisee stores. A bunch of stores are expected to come up in various malls. When asked about the targeted number of stores, Sharma confided: “Even though we have planned a number of stores, the openings are not entirely in our hands as most of the new stores planned are in malls. Our fate is tied to the fate of the opening dates of these malls.”

    The other brands, Genesis and Basics, offer a wide range of categories that include casual, smart and formal lines in shirts and trousers, jackets, suits, denims, cargos, shorts, ties, belts, and caps. Meanwhile, the company is also working on adding more collections to its portfolio to make it a complete lifestyle offering.

    Thriving ahead with a target of Rs 70 crore this fiscal, Hasbro Clothing’s revenue stood at Rs 57 crore during the last financial year. “With the country focusing on value retailing, it would be safe to say that Probase has the capacity to become the flagship brand of the company in terms of volumes,” Sharma envisaged.

    – Vishnu Rageev R, Bengaluru Bureau