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We plan to open 50 more stores in 2024: Suman Saha of Arrow India

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Suman Saha, chief executive officer of men’s formal wear brand Arrow speaks about the changes in the menswear market, Arrow’s focus areas in the country and much more

Bengaluru: Arrow entered India in 1993 with the textile company Arvind Fashions Ltd. Today, after 30 years of clothing Indian men, has around 200 exclusive brand stores and is available in over 1,000 multi-brand outlets across the country.

A lot has changed in 30 years. In an interview with IndiaRetailing, Suman Saha, chief executive officer of Arrow India speaks about the changes in the menswear market, Arrow’s focus areas in the country and much more.

How has men’s fashion changed over the years?

With the rise of fashion consciousness and the increasing importance of personal appearance amongst men, the demand for menswear is escalating across the globe. The market has been growing rapidly specifically in the past decade. In addition to this, there is an increased demand for business casual and versatile wear.

Post-pandemic we noticed an increase in versatile wear, which works well for office and casual outings.

Tell us a bit about Arrow’s brands in India.

Arrow India has three sub-brands, namely Arrow Mainline, Arrow Sport, and Arrow New York. Mainline is the heart of Arrow; it is also our largest business. It has three sub-lines of architecture – the first being Arrow Original, which is formal and work wear. The next is Arrow Modern, which focuses on formal wear in brighter colours and expressive patterns. The third is the ceremony line of Arrow because today more formal wear is being consumed in Indian ceremonies.

Arrow Sport, which is a clean casual workwear category offering high-quality yarn and a superior finish, is compiled in a sophisticated product line.

Arrow New is the modern line comprising graphic tees and other products targeted at a younger consumer base.

What is Arrow’s current focus area?

Our predominant focus is strengthening our bases and subsequently catering to all occasions in menswear.

Across the country, there is an increasing need to have a versatile and stylish wardrobe beyond professional wear. A more casual approach to work wear is immensely popular among the younger generations, who are looking for classic, elegant, and premium alternatives to formal wear. Arrow’s sportswear segment is the perfect answer for this. The range works well for work as well as for social occasions. Our sports range includes sports luxe shirts and smartly engineered polos among others that perfectly elevate an everyday look. Every season we introduce innovative new ranges within this segment to match the preferences and demands of our customers.

Tell us about the omnichannel efforts of Arrow.

Phygital fashion represents a shift towards a more immersive and interactive approach to fashion, breaking down traditional boundaries and allowing for new possibilities in how we engage with fashion. It is an exciting development shaping the industry’s future and changing how we think about fashion and technology.

Arrow has been leveraging online sales channels to its benefit for several years now. We have significantly strengthened our omnichannel model and have partnered with many online channels to expand our reach across different pin codes. We have a comprehensive strategic plan in place to expand our online sales channels further as a tactical intervention to fuel brand growth and create more brand awareness.

Are you focusing more on in-store or on digital experience?

There is definitely a shift in our approach to the overall retail experience being offered to customers. We have refreshed the in-store shopping experience through a new retail identity that encapsulates the heritage of the brand and contemporary self-expression.

Digital integration is also an important focus for our team right now. We are doubling down on digital promotions to reach a wider audience. We have an elegant collection of menswear for all occasions, so we are keen to spread the word, garner more eyeballs and stay socially relevant.

We have amped up our marketing spending across channels and are leveraging all our digital resources to advertise to our customers and increase our digital footprint.

Additionally, we are strengthening our customer membership programs and other loyalty schemes to retain customers.

Can you elaborate on the customer experience aspect?

We focus on customer experience, strengthening our loyalty base, and increasing our physical and digital footprint. As a brand, the omnichannel ensures a seamless experience, and our e-commerce presence helps us reach out to wider geographies.

We also try and maintain an interesting, crisp range that is in tune with our customers’ preferences. This is mainly due to the fact our motto for a brand like Arrow—an established, premium brand, is mainly to ensure customer satisfaction in addition to maintaining a stronger digital and physical footprint.

Is Metaverse on your checklist?

Not at the moment, however, it is an angle we are looking to explore in the future.

What are the challenges Indian men face while shopping and how do you cater to those?

The main issue that we have noticed is sizing. We tackle this through continuous replenishment to ensure full set sizes are available to different body types. Secondly, there is a lack of adequate product information. However, through in-store communications, product tags, and omnichannel strategies, we are able to solve this seamlessly. Additionally, we are also training the team to understand customer requirements and offer them the products of their demand.

Any offline expansion plans?

Arrow plans to add 50 more stores next year across geographies. We strongly believe there are a lot of latent opportunities in tier 1 and tier 2 cities. Without tackling this segment, we are not thinking of venturing into the tier 3 regions.

Arrow: Making its mark since 1851

The blue-blooded American brand was founded by William H Titus and his partner in Chicago way back in 1851. In the late 1800s, Titus merged with Cluett Peabody & Co.

In 1929 apparel company Cluett, Peabody & Co. established this national menswear business under the Arrow brand name. In 2004, Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation acquired Arrow and today the brand remains a registered trademark of Cluett, Peabody & Co. which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation.

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