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Fossil upbeat on the ‘bridge to luxury’ watch segment

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Fashion and lifestyle retailer ‘Fossi’ started its India operation in the year 2005 and has extended its presence by retailing all its brands through leading MBOs such as Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop etc and its own exclusive outlets. Fossil India Pvt. Ltd has been set up as a 100 per cent subsidiary of Fossil to introduce the vibrant Fossil portfolio in India that includes Emporio Armani, Michel Kors, Diesel, Fossil, DKNY, and Skagen. Known in the country mainly for its namesake watches, Fossil is now gearing up to showcase its strength as a leading consumer fashion accessories player in India.

Fossil has launched exclusive retail stores across Mumbai and Bangalore, and now they have made their foray into New Delhi at the DLF Promenade Mall, Vasant Kunj. The new store will feature a diverse collection of accessory items that includes the full-line of Fossil watches, an extensive collection of small leather goods handbags, jewellery, and eyewear strictly restricted to its own stores.

In an exclusive conversation with Shipra Srivastava of Images Retail, Sumit Ghosh, Brand Head, Fossil India talks about the journey of the brand in India so far and the way forward.

What has been the journey like for Fossil in India so far?

The company was launched close to 8 years back in India. We are 100 per cent subsidiary of the Fossil group and the journey has been quite successful so far. We have managed to establish ourselves as successful brand in the ‘bridge to luxury’ watch market. Although, our retail journey started two years ago, we were among the first few brands to have received FDI approval in single brand retailing.

Presently, we are operating through two retail concepts: first is the full price store and we launched this concept in Mumbai this year in the month of March. The second concept is the factory outlet and this concept was launched in Bengaluru at the same time. So far, we have six full price stores in India.

Delhi is one very important market. What took you so long in opening your first store in the NCR region?

We had chosen three clusters for our retail launch which were Mumbai, Bangaluru and Delhi. We were sure to launch our chain of stores in these three cities but there were many factors to be considered before opening a new store like finding a place in top of the class mall that too on ground floor, between the size of 600 to 1000 sq.ft. The space was not available in operational mall due to which we were unable to launch in Delhi. However, we are very much presented in Mumbai now (Palladium, Inorbit Malad and Vashi) and launching the fourth store shortly.

Malls vs. high streets: which would be your ideal location for expansion?

At least, for next year our focus would be top class malls and once the business model is stablised we may consider high streets for further expansion.

You have launched your entire port-folio in this newly launched store. How are you managing the retail distribution of other brands?

No, in this store we have only launched Fossil brands including men’s and women’s watches, leather accessories, eye wear and jewellery. We wish to reposition the Fossil brand as a complete fashion and lifestyle brand through this newly launched store as we retail we retail our other brands through various channels.

We have a different concept store called ‘Watch Station International’ which features all brands of Fossil Group. We have launched this concept as an experiment in Delhi, Amritsar and Vadodra just a few-4 months back. We are still in the process of studying these markets.

So, how do you see the ‘bridge to luxury’ segment growing in ‘watches’ category and what would be your market share in this segment?

Presently, it would be approximately Rs.650 crore market where brand Fossil alone occupies a share of over 20 per cent. If you include all our portfolio then our share would be around 40 per cent. We are certainly playing a crucial role in this segment.

The market is growing rapidly, specifically youth population is becoming more asprational towards premium watches. And, with increasing disposable income this section is bound to grow in leaps and bounds in the coming years.

Are you looking to enhance your brand port folio as well?

Yes, in fact, very recently we acquired Skagen for its watches categories. In future, we plan to launch exclusive retail outlets for Skagen.

Which is your best performing category and brand so far?

Fossil, as it is really well connected with the youth. Leather and watches are our two best performing category. In our stores leather contributes 30-35 per cent to overall sales.

What’s your price range like?

Fossil watches start from Rs 9000 and it goes up to Rs.16,000, leathers from Rs. 6000 to Rs.14,000, jewellery from Rs 3000 to Rs. 6000 and eye wear in the range of Rs. 6,000 to 7,000.

What would be your sales per square feet?

Our sales per square feet range from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 4000. We are among the top three brands in all the malls where are operating.

How do you plan to leverage the ever growing online channel?

Presently, we are presented on all leading market places like Amazon, Flipkart, etc. Our exclusive online store is our long term goal.

Kindly share your growth plans?

We would be opening two more stores for Fossil brand before the end of this year. One would be Benagaluru and other one would be in Mumbai. And, by 2017 we would have at least 25 stores for the Fossil brand.

Would you like to consider franchising model for expansion?

As of now we are seeking franchising opportunities only for our ‘Watch Station’ outlets

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