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    Koutons plans foray into innerwear

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    Apparel and fashion wear chain Koutons India Retail is planning to foray into inner-wear segment and to expand its leather accessories portfolio as it eyes a growth of 30-35 per cent in 2009-10.

    The retail chain, which has currently 1,400 outlets across the country, is also continuing with its expansion despite the current economic downturn, and plans to open 100 more stores this fiscal.

    “The key driver for Koutons in this fiscal would be our new launches in the leather accessories and the inner-wear segment, besides a new range of premium segment shirt ‘Feel Me’. We plan to launch our range in the next few months,” India Ltd President Ahluwalia told PTI.

    He said the company has already undertaken a soft launch of its K2One shoe range, which is for both the genders in all age groups. The company had last year announced its plan to foray into the footwear segment.

    “We expect 30-35 per cent (overall) growth in the coming year,” Ahluwalia said.

    Koutons had reported an annual turnover of Rs 793 crore in 2007-08, while its financial results for the year 2008-09 are yet to be announced.

    The good response to K2One prompted Koutons to expand into leather accessories segment, including belts and bags, Ahluwalia added.

    “Besides, there is a huge market for inner-wears and we are planning to launch it in the men’s segment,” he said.

    Koutons is also targeting expansion in Tier II and III markets to enlarge its customer base.

    “We have 1,400 stores operating at present and we plan to expand to Tier II and III cities and take the tally to 1,500 this year,” he said, but did not comment on the investments for the purpose.

    The company would be focusing more on high streets rather than malls to take advantage of low rentals, he added.

    Commenting on the impact of economic slowdown, Ahluwalia said it has affected the industry as a whole, and Koutons also have faced the problem.

    “However, we have managed to pull off conveniently maintaining our profits. Even customers in Tier I cities are realising the value of affordable high-quality products at reasonable prices,” he said.

    Source: The Hindu