“Value is essential in fashion because fashion has to be accessible,” remarked Adam Colton, head of Buying for Marks & Spencer at the 25th IAF World Apparel Convention 2009. If Asia had come a long way from being merely a sourcing hub to an emerging fashion destination formed a central theme of discussions at the two-day convention. While prominent speakers debated on the issue, it was also evident that India is emerging as a promising market for global brands and the retailers alike. The country’s economic boom over the past decade has hinged significantly on its contribution to global textile and apparel trade.
Along with other prominent speakers from across the globe, Colton highlighted the fact there needs to be near-perfect synergy between sourcing and fashion fundamentals. According to him, the correct definition of ‘fashion destination’ is “where one can buy fashion that influences trends”; a definition that Marks & Spencer seems to have learnt quite well. No wonder, today, it is the largest apparel retailer in Europe with a turnover of 9 billion pounds, 885 stores across 40 countries, 2,000 suppliers globally and still growing.
So, what does it take to be successful in a competitive market? Pat came the reply from Colton: “right product, right place and right value”.
As for expansion plans in India, the British retail major has entered into a JV with Reliance Retail to launch 50 more stores within the next five years. In 2008-09, Marks & Spencer increased the number of its outlets in India to 16, a growth of 7 per cent, and also occupied a total retail space of 94,000 square feet., signifying a growth of 16 per cent in retail footprint over the previous year.
— Daakshi Kushwaha