Flipside, flagship brand of Rika Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd, has today become synonymous with fashion and lifestyle. The brand started its journey in 2009 with basic printed flipflops. Today, the brand has grown manifold and offers a complete range of products catering to casual, office, party wear for men, women and kids.
The motto of the brand being – Simple yet Sophisticated, Stylish yet Subtle, offers products that are abreast with the changing international trends combining cutting edge and the latest technology.
Sharing the retail mapping of the brand, Anshu Kumar, Director, Rika Lifestyle Pvt Ltd., also spills the beans on the journey of the brand, trends ruling the footwear industry and a lot more.
Share your views on the dynamics of footwear market in India.
Footwear industry is one of the rapidly expanding industries globally. Increasing demand for new and innovative footwear and emergence of various global as well as regional brands in the Indian footwear industry is majorly driving the market.
How have you seen the market for footwear evolve in the last five years?
The global footwear market was valued at approximately US $208 billion, and is projected to reach US $258 billion by the year 2023. There has been a significant rise in the footwear category as the trendy and innovative footwear are being consistently manufactured by leading market players due to advancement in the footwear manufacturing process, technological innovations and development of new material.
According to you, when would be the milestone phase/ year for the footwear market in India?
Currently, we are the second largest footwear producer after China. India’s footwear production accounts for approximately 9 percent of the global annual production of 22 billion pairs as compared to China which produces over 60 percent of the global annual production. In India 75 percent of the footwear production comes from the unorganized sector.
With expanding market, the needs of the customers are also fast changing. Rapid urbanization, higher disposable incomes and greater penetration of media has led to these changing fashion needs. These factors will push many of the unorganized players to come to main stream, so the fashion and trend can be executed faster and many of the brands can opt for domestic sourcing which will further reduce the lead time and fashion trends will be expected to come faster in India.
How many outlets do you have currently (COCO, COFO and FOFO) and the total sq.ft space that you occupy? What is the average sq.ft size of each store and is it consciously decided or you open a store based on the availability of the space in the desired location?
We have totally about 205 stores out of which 200 are MBO’s and 5 are EBO’s. With regards to the MBO’s, we select the stores mutually with the MBO’s based on store ratings for the respective category.
And for the EBO’s, we depend on our market research based on a lot of factors like the brand value, location, target customer etc., while looking for a desired location.
Throw some light on cities/ towns you are present in with the number of stores in each location?
We are present in 200 MBO’s along with 5 EBO’s which are spread across Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Gurugram, Jalandhar, Chennai, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Raipur, Mumbai, Pune, Gangtok, Kolkata, Patna, Bhopal, Vizag, Vishakhapatnam to name a few.
What is the total number of Flipside store in malls and how has the YoY growth been for your stores in malls compared to those on high-streets?
We have 5 stores in the malls located in Bengaluru, and these have grown roughly about 18 percent YOY.
Highlight the key differentiators between having a store in the mall compared to having a store on high-street – the pros and cons, the nuances, customer expectation etc?
Every location has its own set of advantages and limitations, which depend on a few factors like how strong is the brand pull, the number of walk-in’s etc (the walk in’s in the malls definitely vary from that on the high-streets since the Mall’s are designed for a more of a complete family experience).
On the other hand, the stores at the high-street are able to play a lot more with the presentation as in most of the cases they have more retail space comparatively which allows them to utilize a lot of area to work on display and marketing.
Elaborate on your online presence. How has the growth been, the challenges of returns, the discounting challenge and the YoY growth seen since last 3 years in the online space?
We are present on various market place portals and have noticed a YOY growth of almost 20-25 percent and have also recently launched our exclusive portal which is seen pulling a lot of attraction month-on-month.
Through online, we have been able to reach to a wide set of customers across the globe. Here we have the advantage to showcase the maximum range and potential. The challenge which we have to face is – returns and discounts. We have been working to address these concerns by providing more specific product details.
Elaborate on you Omnichannel strategy.
Having our presence at various e-commerce platforms, we recently launched the Flipside website. As far as brick-and-mortar stores are concerned, apart from having company-owned stores, we are also open to collaborating with franchise partners.
What sells the most online vs. in malls vs. stores at high-street?
I see a future in all the mediums. Sales ratio keep on varying on online, malls and high-street stores. But definitely there is a potential in every medium of business. However, as per the current trend, there is a huge rise in the online sales.
Which category within footwear is growing exponentially?
Casual and sports categories are growing exponentially.
What is the market share for women’s, kid’s and men’s footwear and if you can break it down further into casual, semi-formal and formal wear (specific to your brand and then a general overview of the Indian market demand based on your experience)?
Flipside is a complete casual wear brand with a dotted line of leisure wear and occasion wear.
In India, based on our experience, casual contributes to about 35 percent, sports contributes about 40 percent and formal contributes around 25 percent.
What are the pain points of the footwear industry that needs to be addressed?
I feel the current lower tax limit which is Rs 500 should be increased upto Rs 1,000 as this will help many sub-categories to grow.
How do you see the acceptance of international footwear brands in India?
Today’s customer is more exposed and is willing to experiment trends from across the globe. Hence, there is a positive acceptance of international brands which bring these trends in India. Skechers is a perfect example for this.
Throw some light on the YoY growth seen by your brand in the last three years and the number of stores you have opened in the last three years?
We have grown roughly about 18-20 percent YOY in last three years and were able to add almost 130+ MBO’s and 5 EBO’s in the last three years.
Which styles have remain evergreen for men, women and kids?
We are spoilt of having numerous choices. I always feel simple and elegant style can never be replaced.
And to conclude, how the regional demands that you see which are very different from one region to another and based on your experience and observation, cities/ towns within the country that seem to have a high footwear consumption.
Geographic and demographic change will have a very little impact in the footwear industry. As India is moving towards modernization this trend is further getting more simplified.