Key findings of the IMAGES F&R research report ‘Sportswear Market in India 2015’ reveal that majority of global sportswear brands with major presence and bigger share in the Indian market have followed the franchise model to scale up their exclusive store presence. Whether it’s pure-play brands like Adidas, Nike, Puma, Reebok, Fila and Lotto or sports lifestyle brands viz., Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, UCB that offer sportswear as one of the key categories. The franchise route finds favor among brands since it is a low cost expansion model that as well facilitates rapid and mass expansion in new markets.
Partners in success
For international brands, local partnerships (JVs or licensing) are quite beneficial as they expand beyond borders. Partners help them gain foothold in unknown territories by bring in their understanding of local market conditions and business expertise. On the hand, the local companies can leverage the brand equity of a internationally known brand. As such, both partners share the fruits of the brand’s success and growth in the target market.
A few of the winning partnerships between global brands commanding a lion share in India’s sportswear market and their Indian peers: Adidas’s key franchisees include Adi Sports, Comfy Shoemakers, Goodwill Enterprises, Mayank, Swaranbhadra, etc; Nike’s major franchisees are Mystore, RJ, SSIPL Group, Saffron Group, etc; Puma has paired up with Bhawar, Ethix, Kapsons, Samarth, Shreyas, and others; while the key franchisees of Reebok are the likes of Basic Clothing, CS Retail, Comfy Shoemakers, Emdee, Mayur Associates Retail (Sri Devi) and Uttam Trading. Several of these firms operate multiple brands.
Delhi’s Adi Sports is a trader and supplier of sports goods, cricketing gear and other sports apparels and footwear. A franchisee of Adidas group, the company has over 20 stores (Adidas and Reebok) in Delhi/NCR, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. Based out of Jaipur, Acme Lifestyle is a distributor and retailer of a number of international and national brands in apparel & lifestyle space in Rajasthan. It has brands like UCB, Puma, Lee, Indian Terrain, Spykar, Mufti and CAT in its kitty. Comfy ShoeMakers (Chennai) is one of the largest franchisees of Adidas pan India. Apart from making Safety Shoes at Ambattur Industrial Estate, the company deals in the retail of Adidas merchandise through 42 exclusive Adidas & Reebok stores spanning Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry. Also, it’s the first franchisee to open an Adidas Originals store in Chennai.
Kolkata’s CS Group is a Master Franchisee for Reebok and Levi’s in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Sikkim and the North East. Associated with Reebok since 2005, the group’s retail wing operates close to 21 EBOs for brand Reebok. It also operates 27 EBO’s for brand Levi’s?, and is also the C&F distributor for John Players for WB.
?Reebok, Levi’s, UCB constitutes Bengaluru-based Emdee Apparel’s global brand portfolio. At present, it runs close to 20 Reebok outlets. One of the largest retailers in south, the company is also the master franchisee for Peter England, and has launched own brands Hayaa and Avirate.
Kapsons Group from Chandigarh is north India’s leading distributor and retailer of many national and international fashion and lifestyle brands with 190 stores (MBOs and EBOs) including Puma (30 outlets). Saffron Group in Ahmedabad is franchise of leading apparel brands like Nike, UCB, Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, etc with nearly 50 outlets (including 13 of Nike) across Gujarat and some presence in Mumbai and Pune.
Most significantly, as an associate of global sportswear brands, Delhi headquartered SSIPL Group leads the way. Incepted as Moja Shoes in 1994, the group’s business interests span manufacturing, distribution and retailing. Its association with international brands began in 1996 when it became the first firm in India to tie up with Nike as local manufacturing partner, besides signing up as its exclusive licensee. The year 1998 marked its entry into organized retail arena with launch of its first Nike store in Delhi. Eventually, SSIPL tied-up with several other global brands viz., Levi’s, Puma, Converse, Benetton, Lotto & Clarks. It also increased the count of production units to current 6 units. Other than distribution of footwear brands, SSIPL has been appointed exclusive distributor by ENI-JR286, the global licensee of Nike Equipment range of products for the entire country.
Today, SSIPL, as a franchisee, has an extensive network of stores international labels Nike, Levi’s, Lotto and UCB. Alongside global brand portfolio, the company has also launched in-house footwear brands sold through its concept stores. Furthermore, its distribution reach covers 75 cities. In fact, SSIPL, with 440 stores including 235 Nike stores, is India’s largest operator and retailer of franchised/licensed brands in fashion and lifestyle segment comprising sportswear.
The full report to be released later this month will present:
- Sizing of the total sportswear and active sportswear market in India
- Keyglobal and Indian players – entry/ launch strategy, present operating structures
- Performance so far and future expansion plans
- Market scope: Organised and unorganized market
- Brick-and-Mortar, online and omni-channel retailing
Inputs are welcome from Lifestyle and Sportswear brands, manufacturers, distributors, franchisees, multi brand retailers and industry experts to make the report as exhaustive as possible.
Inputs can be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org