The Economic Times
May 30, 2013
Mumbai: Department chains Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons and Lifestyle International may fiercely compete with each other to court customers, but they all swear by a common brand as their largest money-spinner.
Louis Philippe, the premium menswear brand from Aditya Birla Group has not only managed to top the charts in these department chains, but with sales of over Rs.1,100 crore during the year ended March 2013, it is also the largest apparel brand in India.
The company says that aggressive retail expansion and launch of its youth oriented sub-brand LP has helped grow the brand that was launched way back in 1989. "In retail, there is a huge trend towards branded fashion even in small cities, which we didn't see as potential markets earlier. We almost doubled the store count in the last two years to over 150 now," says Jacob John, brand head, who joined Madura Fashion and Lifestyle over 18 years ago as a management trainee. He took charge of the Louis Philippe brand three years ago, and has doubled its sales from Rs.450 crore in 2010 to Rs.1,106 crore now. "The growth has also been augmented by LP Sport, which was launched to appeal youth segment," said the 42-year-old John.
Experts and competitors feel that consistent focus on premium positioning has helped the brand gain sales traction. Clothing Manufacturers Association of India's president Rahul Mehta, says, "Unlike other brands that tried to diversify into newer categories, Louis Philippe hasn't really diluted its brand." For apparel, that includes trying to grab the most attractive space within department stores - all in a quest to maintain its premium image.
But retaining its top slot in the Rs.2 lakh crore domestic apparel market won't be easy even as just 15% of the segment is controlled by organised players. Rivals both international and Indian - have been growing rapidly, especially in the youth formal segment, which is growing the fastest.
For instance, Arvind Brand's Arrow has seen its sales grow from Rs.120 crore in 2007 to over Rs.725 crore this year. "While Arrow has been a pedigree brand defining formal clothing, it was relaunched for the younger generation as they perceived formals as boring," J Suresh, managing director at Arvind Brands said. "US Polo, which was launched almost three years ago is already touching Rs.500 crore in sales," he added.
Italian fashion brand Benetton almost three years ago changed its India strategy and became a pure-play wholesale trading entity. Benetton, which doesn't compete directly with Louis Philippe, has been inching towards the top position in the apparel space. "Our core segment is being driven by younger generation that finds our brand trendy and fashionable," Sanjeev Mohanty, managing director at Benetton India, said.
CARE Research expects the men's apparel segment to grow at a CAGR of 7% to Rs.93,700 crore in FY16. "Its share in the overall domestic apparel market is expected to decline slightly from 35.3% in FY12 to about 34.1% in FY16. However, it will continue to remain the largest segment," added the research body.
Dr. Pragnya RamGroup Executive President, Corporate Communications & CSRAditya Birla Management Corporation Private LimitedAditya Birla Centre, 1st Floor, 'C' WingS.K. Ahire Marg, WorliMumbai 400 030.
91-22-6652 5000 /2499 5000
Fax: 91-22-6652 5741/ 42
A US $41 billion corporation, the Aditya Birla Group is in the League of Fortune 500. It is anchored by an extraordinary force of over 120,000 employees, belonging to 42 different nationalities.
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