Incepted in 1989, Kapsons group today has become a formidable presence in fashion distribution and retail arena in north india. It is now all set to grow its legacy to the national level.
Co-founded by brothers Vipin and Darpan Kapoor, Chandigarh-based Kapsons Group is credited for introducing nearly 200 national and global lifestyle brands to North India, thereby transforming its fashion retail landscape. Its rise from a single fashion store to a prominent fashion distribution house and retail chain is quite exemplary.
Vipin Kapoor, Chairman, Kapsons Group, states, “2014 has been a landmark year for us as we have completed 25 years in fashion retailing. Kapsons today has become a brand in its own right in northern India and we aim to sustain our pioneer position in the region. Moreover, we now aspire to create a nationwide retail presence.” Adds, Darpan Kapoor, Vice Chairman, Kapsons Group, “We are ever more focusing on setting up new benchmarks in merchandise, service standards, store interiors and visual merchandising at all of our stores. ”
Covering a total retail space of 4,10,859 sq.ft., Kapsons as of now operates 190 stores (company-owned and franchisee-owned) in 38 cities. Of the overall count, 42 are MBOs, 148 are exclusive stores of specifi c brands. “Beginning with Kapsons family store under MBO format, the company has as well launched other MBO formats that cater to distinct needs and audiences. So while Kapkids is for babies, kids and young teens, Kapsons Exclusive stocks the best of brands for women; and Krome is targeted at youth,” explicates Vipin Kapoor. Presently, Kapsons’ retail network extends over their home city Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. In FY 2013–14, the brand registered a retail turnover of Rs 439.66 crore. Gradually, it is making inroads into other parts of the country as well.
BRANDS AND PRODUCTS
Some of the high-profi le brands available at Kapsons’ stores are Arrow, Lee, PUMA, Wrangler, Indian Terrain, Levi’s, UCB, Tommy Hilfi ger, Timberland, CK, FCUK, Gant, Esprit, US Polo, Izod, s.Oliver, Ed Hardy, Pepe, London Fog, And, Forever New, Only, Vero Moda, Avirate, Sisley, etc. Also, its product portfolio is as diverse, and includes apparel, watches, eyewear, perfume and other accessories.
In the kids segment, the product range consists of clothes, footwear and accessories like bags, hats, etc. from brands like Levi’s, US Polo, Gant Nike, Barbie, Stars n Hearts, Messi, Elle, Cutecumber, Petals, Vitamins, Little Kangaroos, etc. “During 2013, the group has successfully expanded its brand portfolio by brands like Kenneth Cole, Super Dry, Guess and others.”
The group has distribution rights for over 15 brands such as Arrow, Lee, PUMA, Timberland, UCB, US Polo, Wrangler, etc. for North India. The retail business under Kapsons umbrella is a mix of company-owned and franchise outlets. Importantly, the kids exclusive MBOs are overseen by the company’s business division Kapsons Global, which is wholly dedicated to the kids category and owns marketing and distribution rights of known kids brands like Levi’s Kids, Nike, Jordan Firetrap, Ben Sherman, etc.
As a license, even as the company prefers having direct relationship with retailers, it also relies on local distributors or agents as the latter is better versed with the local market. Their appointment helps in achieving higher sales depth and in curtailing service costs. As regards suppliers, As regards suppliers, Vipin Kapoor notes: “Kapsons works closely with them from the sampling phase itself, so as to help them understand what sells in the targeted market.
Motivated employees are a key to efficient and profitable business operations. Says Vipin Kapoor: “At Kapsons, we strive to create an amiable work environment for our employees. For fostering camaraderie amongst employees and make them function as a close-knit family, we carry out several employee engagement activities. For instance, we observe festivals like Diwali and Christmas at our office premises.” Besides, the company also runs awards and appreciation programmes to boost their morale.
Technology is pivotal in all critical business functions at Kapsons. “In around 1999, we introduced technology into our business. It was a big leap towards our business development. Gradual up-gradation and regular investment in technology continues to enhance our operational effi ciency as well as profi tability even today,” informs Darpan Kapoor.
Presently, the company uses cloud-based technology that allows it to maintain a centralised database. Hence, all key operations such as warehousing, inventory management, merchandising, POS, customer relation management (CRM), etc. are centrally managed. Even the supply partners are given special VPN access to stock updates on real-time basis.
To ensure high service standards at its stores, Kapsons provides induction training on products, customer handling and sales techniques to new recruits besides regular refresher trainings for existing customer service staff. For customer engagement, other than EOSS and discounters, Kapsons also hosts fashion shows, in-store games and evening activities. As per Kapoor duo “Our ability to capture the emotions of our customers is what makes Kapsons a lovable brand in the region. We make their shopping a fun-fi lled and memorable experience.”
To enhance loyal customer base, the company runs its own loyalty programme – Kapsons Royale – at more than 38 stores across its network including some EBOs too. The loyalty card holders get exclusive offers, extra discounts and on-the-spot redemption of collected points.
For marketing, alongside traditional media as in newspaper, radio, hoardings, etc., Kapsons uses new age marketing tools such as social media (Facebook), promotional e-mailers and SMSes to communicate offers and schemes to its existing and potential customers. It also runs special campaigns and offers on special occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, etc.
Vipin Kapoor apprises: “We keep running varied in-store promotions and cross offers from time to time. For instance, we had a month-long offer on accessories at Kapsons stores recently during which each week any one accessory – watches, eyewear or fragrances – was covered. Denim parade at Krome outlets is yet another marketing activity that has received welcome response from our customers.” Above all, Kapsons banks on the tinsel world for marketing and promotions. It has partnered with several popular Panjabi movies as part of its co-branding exercise.
Acknowledging the growing influence of e-commerce, Kapsons too has come up with its own online store. “However, the brick and mortar model shall remain our focus area,” quips Darpan Kapoor. Continuing its build-up in 2013, Kapsons rolled out new stores at Chandigarh’s Elante Mall that included EBOs of some of the top fashion labels: Gant, FCUK, Gas, Nautica, Forever New along with Kapkids, an MBO; Kapsons’ second store in Bathinda; and Kapkids at Rohtak and Pathankot. Most recently, it has opened another Kapsons family store, at Jammu.
Shedding light on Kapsons’ expansion plans, Vipin Kapoor states: “We are looking forward to expanding our legacy at the national level. Apart from company-owned stores, we plan to extend our retail presence mainly through the franchise route.”