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Tata’s specialty footwear chain – Tashi

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Tata International, the global trading arm of the Tata Group, recently announced its foray into footwear retail with the launch of Tashi, a specialty footwear retail chain. The company will unveil its first retail store at Linking Road, Bandra, Mumbai. The shift from supplier to retailer comes after 30 years of business, and is the brainchild of the new boss Noel Tata – the man behind the success of Trent retail. Tashi will target the premium consumer segment in Mumbai, Delhi and Chandigarh.

Deepak Deshpande, VP (Retail), Tata International, said, “As we become a global organisation, we realised that we had to have a direct interaction with one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The growing consumption in India is an opportunity by itself.”

The company plans to open 20 stores by March 2011. It has introduced 20 sub-brands or private labels across footwear, bags and leather jackets. But the management is not limiting its options to the current format. It says it is possible that in future Tashi brand is taken overseas or international brands are introduced via its stores.

Deshpande said, “I hope to get a greater push for retail. You definitely get to share with him his experience which is quite vast in this area. It is great to have a mentor like him who can advise on small things such as which markets and categories work.”

The hoarding that forms the teaser campaign for the new footwear chain says – “99% of men love a woman in stilettos. The other 1%, lie.”  To generate a buzz, the brand launched the outdoor teaser campaign with messages, such as, “It`s funny how a pair of really nice shoes can make you feel real good in your head.” Another creative read, “A stiletto is more an attitude as opposed to a high-heeled shoe;” while a third said, “Is there such a thing as too many pairs of shoes? Not in our world, there isn`t.”

The communication, thus, is based on people who love their shoes immensely, and tries to attract them to the new shoe brand in town. The campaign has been done by creative agency Leo Burnett. The revealer campaign unveiled at the outdoor sites, shows the brand name and pictures of the shoes, with in-your-face copy.

In the first phase of rollout, Tata International will open six exclusive Tashi stores in Mumbai, New Delhi and Chandigarh. The retail chain will have exclusive stores located at high streets, major city markets and leading malls to ensure maximum brand visibility and customer accessibility.

The brand will feature products for men, women and kids. It will also include a full range of accessories – bags, belts, wallets, jackets and foot care products.

Tata International is a supplier to global brands such as Betty Barclay, Peter Keiser, Marks & Spencer, GCI, Mango, Pierre Cardin, Hush Puppies, Escada, Gabor, Naturalizer, Zara, Grenson, Ambiorix, Samsonite and Danier; and Indian retailers such as Westside, Shoppers Stop and Raymond. It has design studios in Italy, Spain and India.

The Indian footwear retail market is estimated at Rs 16,000 crore and is growing at over 15 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR). With the increase in per capita consumption, changing lifestyles and greater fashion consciousness amongst Indian consumers, the organised footwear retail space is on the threshold of expanding rapidly.

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