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Tommy Hilfiger: Casual Yet Classy

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American premium lifestyle brand enjoys a huge fan base in India. In consonance with the brand’s spirit, its collections, whether formal, runway inspired, Casual or denim, are both elegant and classy.

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Globally renowned premium lifestyle brand Tommy Hilfiger (TH) operates in India in partnership with . Besides marketing and selling TH apparel, handbag and footwear collections, the joint venture also manages third-party license and franchise agreements for use of brand’s trademarks vis-à-vis retail and product categories including watches, eyewear, travel small leather goods, etc.

Notably in apparel and accessories, from its formal and semi-formal range, the brand offers casual collections for men, women and children alongside Hilfi ger’s denim line. Talking about the brand’s huge popularity and grand success in India, Rohiet Singh, President – Retail, Tommy Hilfi ger Arvind Fashion says, “Our Indian operations have been immensely successful so far.

Having delivered profi table growth within three years of starting operations, including the 2008–09 recession, makes us a proud organisation. Even during the recent slowdown, we registered a profit growth of 40 percent.”

MARKET PRESENCE

Tommy Hilfiger (TH) has established signifi cant pan India retail footprints through stand-alone outlets as well as the multi-brand format. By the end of December 2013, TH had 195 points of sales (MBOs plus EBOs) in almost 50 cities.

According to Singh, both in terms of store count and market presence, the brand is way ahead its next competitor brand. Its total annual retail turnover (2013) was Rs 60,000 lakh. As regards its EBO format, which is a mix of company-owned and franchised outlets, the brand’s annual turnover during the period was of Rs 36,000 lakh. In recent years, with the introduction of several new categories in its portfolio – childrenswear, accessories and footwear – Tommy Hilfi ger India has not only launched new products but has also expanded its customer base.

KEYS TO SUCCESS

The company’s success mantra lies in offering International standards in terms of products, shopping ambience and customer service combined with locally attractive pricing strategy. Its thrust on innovation in terms of product development and merchandise planning, technology implementation, employee training, etc., has also increased.

Product development: The brand has launched India-specific footwear line for winters. Singh explicates, “The winters in India are not as severe as in Europe, and our new footwear line has been developed to cater to local weather conditions. This has helped us grow by over 100 percent in the category. Moreover, we have introduced tailored clothing line in the formal segment in April, 2013.”

Technology adoption: The company has implemented a state-of-the-art customer relation management (CRM) programme through Edenred (formerly Accor Services), France, an international firm providing prepaid performance enhancement and commuter benefi t services for businesses. Importantly, the CRM programme has been successfully implemented in MBOs as well. Furthermore, ISIS, a global product merchandising and planning system, has been employed for TH’s entire Indian operations.

Customer service: TH is the fi rst brand in India whose store team sports current season’s merchandise as uniform, thereby giving visitors a look and feel of what’s in store for them. According to Singh, TH offers exclusive, yet friendly and warm interaction between customers and the store team. He says, “Our customers get the same experience as a well heeled customer gets while shopping in Europe or US.”

He also shares that the company has hired international consultants to work with local store teams. All these initiatives have helped enhance customer delight at their stores, he claims.

Employee training: As regards employee training initiatives, the company ensures regular training sessions and participation in events such as retail conferences and trade shows in India as well as abroad. Last year, some of the store managers were sent to visit countries like Sri Lanka, Japan, Hong Kong and the US to attend retail conferences and for training. Also, the buying teams regularly visit Hong Kong, Amsterdam and New York for new collection launch events.

Singh says, “Such exposure has benefi tted our in-house team merchandising team so much so that the past year was one of our best seasons in India; largely attributable to the
merchandise in offing.”

Marketing or promotions: TH employs varied ATL and BTL marketing strategies for maximising customer outreach and brand awareness. It also leverages fashion shows and  celebrity endorsements. As per Singh, TH launched SS ’13 season in Bengaluru with exclusive fashion presentation showcasing the nautical inspired line. The company roped in celebrities like Mary Kom, Dino Morea, , , Rana Daggubati, and others for brand promotions in cities like Indore, Goa, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, etc. along with Bollywood divas , , etc. for new category launch such as footwear and childrenswear. In 2013, it also participated in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held in New York.