In a major development to country’s luxury apparel retailing, Vee India Retail is all set to enter into retail segment with the launch of its maiden store — Pocket Store — at Pitampura in Delhi on 14th of this month. The store will retail over 60 international apparel brands including CK, Hugo Boss, Lee, Lacoste, Levi’s, Puma, Reebok and Adidas. Further, the company also plans to open another three stores by February-end and carry the number to 14 by end of March 2009 and 60 by the end of 2009, informed a top company official.
“The first store of our chain at Pitampura will be opened on February 14. We are opening a total of four stores this month — first store at Pitampura, second in Goa, third in Guwahati and the fourth store in Aurangabad. By March-end, a total of 14 stores will be operational across the country. Further, we plan to have a total of 60 stores by end of this year,” said OP Gupta, CEO, Vee India Retail.
The stores will be opened in two different formats — Pocket (1500 square feet-5000 square feet) and Pocket Junior (1000 square feet-3000 square feet). While Pocket normal will retail over 60 international luxury apparel brands for men and women, Pocket Junior will be selling 11 luxury brands for kids. The brands including CK, Hugo Boss, Lee, Lacoste, Levi’s, Puma, Reebok and Adidas will comprise the Pocket store collection whereas Benetton Kid, Levi’s, Nike Kid, WWE, Spiderman, Disney and Berbie will be part of Pocket Junior merchandise.
The company is also in talks with some other international brands to add in the portfolio. “We are targeting those brands to add in our portfolio about which customers are already aware of, rather than selling those brands about which customers do not know anything. We are also in talks with Gap Kid and hope by end of this March, the deal will get materialised,” informed Gupta.
Elaborating the investments and expansion plans of the company, Gupta said, “We are investing around Rs 4,000 per square feet and our store size spans across 1,500 to 5,000 square feet. We are not welcoming investors. We are only partnering with pure retailers who have been in the business at least for a period of 3-4 years. We are supporting them with the merchandise while the store and furnitures will be arranged by the franchisees themselves.”
When asked about the reason behind company’s aggressive expansion plan amidst economic slowdown, he stated, “Since real estate prices have gone down by 25-30 per cent during this period and by April-end it is expected that there will be another 8-10 per cent decrease in the same. It is also correct that simultaneously the market has also gone down to 35-40 per cent. But one good part of it is that we are getting properties at excellent prices at our own term and these properties will be with us for 9-14 years. The recession period will sty at the most for one year period during which we may not be having a good business. But the properties that we are getting will be beneficial for us in coming 8-10 years, and this is indirectly helping us to multiply our business immediately.”
Speaking about the prospective markets of the company, he said, “East is definitely most potential and less affected market right now. In east, north-east and other locations including J&K and Chandigarh, we will opt for franchisee model.”
“We have finalised around 35 franchisees and we are expecting around 60 stores to be operational by the end of this year. Of these store, around 10 per cent will company owned outlets. We are opening in metros and tier II and III cities, wherever possibilities of our brands are there. We are taking care of the minimum population of the city and the average income of population for opening our stores,” concluded Gupta.
— Sarimul Islam Choudhury & Shailesh Shah