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M&B eyeing pan-India presence — Might brand traditional footwear

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M&B Footwear Ltd, one of the leading brands in footwear retailing in India, is planning bigger now. The company is expanding its network of its Walk-in M&B stores to 125 from the present 20. The company will also open 70 more factory outlets, taking their total to 100, and 50 shop-in-shops, by 2010.

“We had planned these expansions a couple of years ago and now we are in the execution phase, wherein M&B will open on average a store a week. In total, the company will open 275 stores, which include 125 new Walk-in M&B outlets, 100 factory outlets and 50 shop-in-shops,” Inder Dev Singh Musafir, director, M&B Footwear, told Indiaretailing.

All branded stores from M&B are owned by the company as it does not follow the franchise route. The expansion spree, which began with the opening of the first store in Chandigarh, continues with more openings in all major towns of Punjab by the end of this year.

Asked if the rising real-estate cost and limited space are impediments to growth, Musafir said, “As expansions were on the cards long time back, we had finalised almost 100 destinations a couple of years ago, when real-estate prices were comparatively low. So the new openings do not face this hassle.”

M&B is the only footwear company in India that has distribution arrangements with renowned brands like Lee Cooper, Provogue, Firangi, Geox, Bata, Reebok and iD, which is the company’s own brand.

Quizzed if the company, besides bringing in foreign brands, is also interested in making a brand out of Indian traditional wear, Musafir said, “Though the company has not pondered this as yet, the idea does give us fodder for thought. We’ll consider this idea and can perhaps start with seasonal offerings. For instance, traditional footwear like Punjabi jutti is popular during the wedding seasons.”

The company has manufacturing facilities at Baddi and Noida, with manufacturing capacity of 5,000 pairs a day, which is expected to be increased to 8,000 pairs.

– Ranjan Kaplish

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