Usha Periasamy, VP-operations and brand head, Classic Polo discusses the brand’s successful reign as one of the most popular t-shirt’s brand in the country.
Launched in 2001 by Royal Classic Groups (RCG), Classic Polo is a mid-premium brand manufactured in India. The brand offers t-shirts for young professionals and brings International trends at reasonable prices.
Classic Polo offers a range of t-shirts, shirts, trousers, jackets, sweaters, cargos, denims, sportswear and lounge wear. It targets customers of 20-35 age group, offering functional yet fashionable casual range in menwear. Moreover, to keep up with the well travelled consumer, the brand introduces 3-4 designs every day. Classic Polo was awarded ‘The Brand of the Year’ in 2006, under men’s casualwear category in small and medium segment by CMAI.
After Classic Polo, RCG forayed into innerwear garment and launched brand called Smash that comprises track pants, shorts, gym tees, V neck half-sleeves and muscle tees.
Usha Periasamy, VP – operations and brand head, Classic Polo says, “The fastest moving category at Classic Polo are T-shirts. The reason is that we had started the brand with t-shirts. Today, Classic Polo is synonymous with its t-shirts, which is the brand’s USP. We provide the best range of tees with wide pricing. In the past 2-3 years, our woven range has caught a lot of attention and interest among our customers from all over the country solely for its price, wash and design component.” According to her, establishing its woven range was a challenge; understanding customers’ need and staying updated with trends and designs is not only an ongoing challenge but also a mandate. She fi nds it vital to retain the brand’s identity and for its continuous growth amidst the socially active and intelligent buyers of today. Furthermore, the brand’s online business is at a nascent stage; it was launched in the beginning of this year and received tremendous response from its customers. “Online sales contributes 35 percent of the overall business,” she says. This year the brand has plans to open 100 stores and expects to get 50 percent from across the business.
The brand’s shirts, t-shirts and trousers are made from 100 percent cotton fabric. The brand also offers cotton-rich t-shirts that are double mercerized. All the yarn used at the production unit are combed cotton and the fabrics are from premium mills like Vardhman, Nahar, Arvind, Suryalakshmi and ALC.
RCG’s production unit has the capacity to roll out 6 million tones of knitted and dyed garments per annum; in a year it produces 4.5 million t-shirts, 0.3 million shirts and 0.60 million trousers. Manned with over 3,000 employees. The company’s warehouse is spread across 1 lakh sq.ft. At eight hubs across the country. This helps the brand to restock its collections at any of their outlets every fortnight with new designs and get fi rst hand information about consumers’ preferences and feedbacks on colour, size, fi t and fashion; and also helps in managing timely replenishment of stocks.
The brand’s franchised outlets are approximately 500 sq.ft. and the rent depends on the location and city. Tier – I cities have a rent that goes to a maximum of Rs 100 per sq.ft. and rent in tier – II cities can go up to Rs 75 per sq.ft. The brand prefers locations that have a peer presence in men’s apparel and causal wear; it helps to optimise on decent walk-ins at stores. Franchisees are selected based on their interest in franchising as well as their background in the business. The minimum investment is Rs 18 – Rs 25 lakh which includes the cost of store interiors as well as stock that are purchased on cash and carry. The franchisees receive marketing and promotional support from the company.
As part of the expansion plan, Usha states that Classic Polo will take part in all key counters to expand its stores to 500 and aims to capture 10 percent of the male market share in the next 3-5 years. Classic Polo is also expanding to a new youth line called CP-BRO targeted at 18+ age group, which will be launched in stores during the coming festive season starting from August end. RCG recorded a turnover of Rs 500 crore in FY 2013-14; Rs 150crore from its production division and Rs 90 crore from the brand sales.