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Jabong introduces Aèropostale product range in India

Leading fashion etailer, Jabong has added yet another leading American high-street fashionwear brand, Aèropostale, to its product portfolio. The New York based specialty retailer of casual apparel and accessories for teen will be available on Jabong for women and men in more than 600 variants across categories such as capris, dresses, jeans, joggers, jumpsuits, leggings, shorts, skirts, T-shirts, tops, jeggings, innerwear, casual shirts, polos and chinos.

“We are delighted to partner with Jabong, which has a proven track record of successfully launching some of the top global brands in India. We are confident that with the right mix of fashion, price and quality that Aèropostale offers, we will have a great connect with the young audience on Jabong, which is the perfect platform for us to reach a larger and more relevant audience,” said Sumit Dhingra, Chief Operating Officer, Aèropostale India in a statement.

Kalyan Kumar Gunasekaran, Chief Merchandising Officer of Jabong, added, “Aèropostale is American young fashion brand which connects with generation next. Our excellent partnerships with great brands such as Aèropostale strengthen our portfolio of the best of international fashion from across the globe.”

The release further added that Aèropostale launch will be supported by digital and social media campaigns announcing the brand’s India launch on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. A separate shop-in-shop promotion will highlight Aèropostale images, videos, main categories and brand description on Jabong’s website and mobile app as well as the Jabong’s digital fashion blog.

Picture:Aèropostale website

Hidesign is looking to add more airport stores. The Pondicherry-based premium leather goods maker currently has around eight outlets at airports and doubling that number in the next four months.

A typical 400 to 550 square feet outlet at an airport entails an investment of around Rs 1.2 crores it also gives the company higher sales. The brand also plans to open outlets at international airports which are heavily used by Indians in transit. These include airports in the Gulf, Europe, Nairobi and Colombo. In all Hidesign currently has 74 outlets. More will be opened at Delhi, Kolkata, Kochi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Lucknow, Pune.

Hidesign aims to triple revenues by 2021 by expanding its network especially outside India. The company had revenues of Rs 100 crores and a profit of Rs 2.4 crores in financial year 2016.

An extensive range of classic small leather goods and a constantly changing range of fashion accessories complement the handbags. Hidesign’s ranges of classic and casual belts are made out of full grain cowhide and solid brass buckles.

Hidesign operates stores in several countries around the world and in India. The Pondicherry factory was established in 1990. In 1997, Hidesign opened its first international store in Moscow. Followed by entering emerging markets of South Africa, South and South East Asia in 1998, and finally in 1999, it entered India.

Gap's finds it tough to boost sales in India

American fashion giant Gap has been finding it difficult to enhance consumer base in India even after being close to two years into the country. The company has failed to leverage its global positioning and is lagging behind fast fashion brands like Zara, Forever 21 and H&M. It has not been able to build connect with local styles and trends and the fact that the brand is struggling globally has made the situation worse.

Gap has a franchise agreement with textile and apparel major Arvind Lifestyle Brands in India. Suresh J, MD of the company says Gap’s and other fast fashion brands performance should not be compared, as Gap is a classic brand and equally spread between men, women and kids. As a mall developer in national capital region (NCR) points out, the brand does almost half of what H&M does in terms of sales. H&M clocks in about Rs 40 lakh worth of turnover in the mall per day. Mall executives from across the country say, Gap was doing reasonably brisk business till H&M opened doors in October 2015. Gap has taken up some of the most expensive spaces in malls across the country; it is present at Select City Walk in Delhi, Mall of India in Noida, DLF Promenade among others. It runs a total of 11 stores. A big problem is that the costs are high, but the returns are way below what the brand hoped to mint. To add to its troubles, a mall owner says, Gap has not priced its products right. He says that it is not priced right for the kind of fashion it offers.

Is pricing an issue?

A mall head in Maharashtra says, Gap seems to be having issues with pricing. While they are priced similar to Forever 21 and H&M, others offer higher fashion. The rival brands have caught the pulse of fashion conscious Indian customers. They are quick to change their styles, maintaining a fair degree of freshness in their stocks on shelves. Brands like Zara launch new collections more frequently. Zara launches new designs twice a week and Forever 21 turns its inventory 14 times a year. At Gap, prices start at Rs 800 while the entry point at H&M is Rs 1,500 a piece. Forever 21 start as low as Rs329 for its online fare. But when one compares the average stock pricing of all the brands, Gap is priced 50 per cent higher than H&M and Zara, according to reports.

Analysing the trade dynamics, Baqar Naqvi, Business Director, Wazir Advisors points out most overseas players who have come to India with same pricing as their home markets have not done well. In 2009, M&S cut prices by 20 per cent to make its products more affordable. But that is not the only issue. Gap has done very little advertising and promotion, whereas other international entrants are doing so aggressively. It also has limited penetration, whereas players like Zara have now penetrated tier II towns too and are doing pretty well even in those markets. Zara has already cut prices by 10 to 15 per cent and others are looking at it, say experts. Zara is also facing slowdown in sales growth. Inditex Trent, the JV between Tata owned Trent and Zara’s parent, posted a 17 per cent growth in sales in FY 2016, its slowest growth since opening stores here.

On this note, Suresh J agrees that a 10 to 15 per cent cut in prices may help the brand move its merchandise faster and said they were working on it. He also added that Arvind was working with the Gap sourcing team to increase production from India to avoid hefty import duties. Gap has also started selling online, which he believes will give it an edge over Zara and H&M who do not sell online so far in the country.

Raymond has ordered 98,000 meters of khadi fabric from the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC). The order is worth over Rs 2 crores and is the largest ever order received by KVIC from any corporate giant. Of the 98,000 meters of fabric, 32,000 meters will be supplied by the end of this month and the rest by May end.

Earlier, in January and February, Raymond took more than 6000 meters of various different fabrics from KVIC for testing and sampling. As per the agreement Raymond will procure a minimum of Rs 2.50 crores worth of fabric every year.

After joint visits, Raymond has selected various clusters from Gujarat, Rajasthan and other places to procure grey and finished khadi fabric. Raymond will also provide design inputs to create high end designer wear using khadi fabric. Khadi is heralding the entry of corporate and private sector giants into marketing of khadi fabric and thus providing sustainable employment and livelihood support to the artisans.

KVIC is taking several initiatives to increase the sale of khadi, which today stands under one per cent among total textile sales in the country. In the financial year 2015-16, khadi sales stood at Rs 1,510 crores. For 2016-17, KVIC expects to achieve a turnover between Rs 1900 crores to Rs 2000 crores. The target is to achieve Rs 5000 crores in two years.

American footwear brand, Crocs, may manufacture in India if GST turns out to be favorable. At present, Crocs India entirely sources finished products from its global manufacturing hubs in China and Vietnam. As of now VAT rates for footwear are much higher than they are for apparels, so Crocs doesn’t see much benefit making in India. GST is expected to be rolled out soon.

Crocs is looking at doubling its India business in three years as it widens its product portfolio and expands its retail footprint. In India the brand has 1000 points of sale including 35 exclusive stores. It sold 1.5 million pairs in India last year.

The company is looking at going beyond its core beachwear offerings and become a casual footwear brand. At present, its product offering includes flats, loafers, sneakers, flip flops, and Crocs' signature trademark clogs. Crocs operates in over 90 countries and offers casual footwear for men, women and children. It sold 55 million pairs of shoes the world over in 2016.

It operates in over 90 countries and offers casual footwear for men, women and children. The brand offers several distinct shoe collections with more than 300 four-season footwear styles. One particular style has a gray-and-white marble print embellished with bulbous glittery stones. The stones include malachite and druzies.

Trent has an arrangement with Bharat Petroleum. Trent, a Tata retail venture, operates the Star Bazaar hypermarkets and Star Daily supermarkets. Bharat Petroleum has a shop-on-go initiative. Currently, BPCL and Trent are running a pilot in Pune and planning to expand it to Jaipur and Indore. BPCL will get a share in the sales that will be made through its website. BPCL’s fuel retail outlets will have Star Daily stores or co-branded BPCL-Star Daily stores. Trent will also help BPCL bring in its own private labels.

For Trent a partnership with BPCL makes sense as it gets an additional channel of business without much investment. There are 41 Star Bazaars spread across three formats. Ten of them are hypermarkets of approximately 50,000 square feet. Of the remaining, 12 are Star Market and 19 Star Daily outlets. Star Daily is up to 5,000 square feet and Star Market is 5,000 to 15,000 square feet. Most of these stores are located in just three cities of Karnataka and Maharashtra—Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore.

Online fashion retailer Myntra plans to launch a new sale event in April based on high fashion and minimal discounts as it seeks to shift towards selling full-price products. Myntra expects to generate between Rs 60 to Rs 100 crores during the three-day sale event in the first half of April.

Myntra is owned by Flipkart, India’s largest e-commerce firm. The new sale concept is inspired by the flash sale model of smart phone brands such as Xiaomi, in which online platforms create supply scarcity to boost demand and sell them in small batches in well-publicized sale events. Myntra hopes to make the sale more attractive by promoting high fashion in its marketing campaign for the event.

The value proposition of the sale is four things. The fresh selection, which includes new season launches, will be first on Myntra. Secondly, new brand launches such as Hugo Boss and Esprit. Thirdly, Myntra will do innovative gigs with celebrities and brands, which are now willing to do spike events with full price because it helps enhance their brand. Fourthly, there will be exclusive collections. The aim is to get existing customers to buy more full-price than they have before.

Forever 21 has opened a store in Kolkata. Spread over 6,000 square feet the store offer the latest spring/summer collection and stocks the widest range of chic fashion at pocket-friendly prices. Complementing Forever 21 apparel and accessories, the store also feature the retailer’s other brands including 21 Men, a line of fresh, fast fashion for men of all ages; Love and Beauty, a cosmetics line; and Forever 21’s lingerie and shoe line.

Forever 21 is a fast fashion brand from Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail. It already has a presence in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai. In all the brand has 16 stores in India.

The fast fashion brand introduces new styles every week, thus making it the ultimate fashion terminus for youngsters. Founded in the US in 1984 by Korean immigrants, Forever 21 operates over 600 stores under the Forever 21, XXI Forever, For Love 21, Heritage 1981, and Reference brands. Stores can be found throughout the US and in Canada, Europe, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines.

The name Forever 21 has a lot to do with the appeal. To a young woman who can't legally drink yet, turning 21 is the dream.

Woolmark wants to promote merino wool as a natural fiber and all-weather wear, even for summer. To this end it has approached India’s leading brands, retailers and manufacturers and been presenting merino as a great material for fashion garments and as being not only biodegradable and eco-friendly but also versatile since its unique property of moisture management makes it suitable for all seasons.

According to Woolmark, the Australian-grown premium merino wool is trans-seasonal as well as breathable, which makes it suitable for winter as well as summer. Merino wool, says Woolmark, has been a key contributor in the evolution of fashion around the world and the fiber can be blended with various other natural fibers.

Woolmark has been backing a handful of designers to showcase merino wool. One such Woolmark-backed designer is Jimit Mistry, whose work consists of a range of menswear suits, crafted using Australian merino wool fabrics. The company hosted a fashion show in Delhi recently to showcase garments made of Australian merino wool through a farm to fashion journey.

Woolmark is a subsidiary of Australian Wool Innovation, a not-for-profit enterprise that conducts research, development and marketing along the worldwide supply chain for Australian wool on behalf of about 55,000 woolgrowers.

Women’s ethnic wear brand Biba plans to ramp up its store expansion over the next couple of years. The brand is looking to add jewelry, fashion accessories as well as bags to its line up. The brand typically opens around 45 to 50 new Biba stores a year and now plans to add 150 to 200 stores over the next two or three years, taking the average count per year to roughly over 60. It currently has around 230 Biba standalone outlets.

Biba’s revenue grew 32.73 per cent in the financial year 2014-15 versus the previous year. The focus is on increasing its market share from one per cent to five per cent. Biba has two stores exclusively for children and a third one is coming up. At least 10 more children’s wear stores are planned over the next year. Biba, which opened in Mumbai in 1988, is a Rs 400 crore business and has three brands, Biba, Rangriti and Indian by Manish, under its umbrella.

Rangriti, the firm’s youngest brand, is currently sold through 22 standalone stores and via other retail formats, including large multibrand outlets and online marketplaces. The plan is to open another 100 standalone Rangriti outlets in the next financial year.

Meanwhile, Biba’s spring/summer collection is out, it is crafted out of comfortable fabrics with modern silhouettes, experimental prints and whimsical patterns in a rich and fresh color palette. It is an unique combination of contemporary yet traditional designs which are bold and graceful, casual and classic at the same time. The collection comprises salwar kameez dupattas, ethnic mix n match kurtas, palazzos, leggings, skirts, unstitched pieces.