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Soaring Triumphantly

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In less than 10 years of making its début in India, UK-based Triumph International has emerged as a strong player in the branded lingerie market in India. Though it already holds 30 per cent share of the market, Thorsten Allenstein, MD, India and Sri Lanka, Triumph International India Pvt Ltd, tells us the company has bigger plans for the Indian market.

Triumph had announced plans to set up 10 flagship and 50 exclusive stores in India by December 2009. How successful have you been in achieving the target?

Due to the recent economic slowdown, the growth was slower than expected. But we have been witnessing an upward trend for the last few months and are hopeful to achieve out targets by 2011.

How has the lingerie market evolved in India? What kind of future do you foresee for the market?

Growing income levels of Indians and their changing lifestyles have rechristened lingerie from just an undergarment to a fashion clothing item, at least in urban areas. There is great potential. A key factor characterising the blooming Indian lingerie market is the increasing size of the organised sector.

With a share of over 30 per cent, Triumph is trying to become the market leader in India. As a lot of competitors quit the country and foreign brands withdrew in 2009, the year set the cash registers ringing for the company. Basically, there was consolidation in the market and weak players exited, leaving only strong ones behind.

What is the contribution of the Indian market to Triumph’s overall revenue pie?

Of the 120 countries in which Triumph is present, India is still in an infant stage of operations. But it is growing at a good pace and there is a lot of potential. In the next 5-10 years, it can become one of the top markets for Triumph International.

What will be your expansion strategy in FY12?

We want to become the undisputed market leader in the lingerie segment in India. We have already optimised our collection, as well as the sales and marketing approach, to achieve our goal.

How much do you plan to invest in retail expansion in the next fiscal? Will it be done through internal accruals or external funding?

Historically, we have always used internal funds for expansion. We will keep it the same way.

Triumph is mainly present in MBOs. Will we see more EBOs in FY12?

Yes, we have plans to open more EBOs in tier I, II and III cities in FY12. The expansion of EBOs is limited due to non-availability of premium retail space at a commercially viable price. With rationalisation of rent levels in retail, we foresee a faster rate of expansion.

Will you open EBOs in tier II and III cities, or concentrate only on metros for opening exclusive stores?

Both. The company follows a customised expansion strategy; we are opening flagship stores in metros and exclusive partner stores in tier II and III cities.

Internationally, you have revamped the look of your stores. Will you revamp your Indian stores as well?

I wouldn’t say ‘revamped’; but, yes, we have made some changes in the look of our stores. We continuously strive to optimise the shopping experience for consumers and, accordingly, the upgrade of stores is a continuous process.

What are your expectations from the Indian market?

We hope the market will pick up strongly as the confidence has returned. Development and modern retail planners have returned to the expansion mode. The Indian consumer is out there to spend money again and we just have to give them an opportunity to buy what they want.

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