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When captive manufacturing counts; opportunities unbound!
J. Suresh, CEO, Arvind Brands & Retail shares his present stance and future plans. A B&E exclusive...

The $27 billion domestic prêt-a-porter market which is growing fiercely at 12% and is extrapolated to reach a sprawling $55 billion by 2015 (according to KSA Technopak Analysis) witnesses the entry of at least two new players every month. Does this tantamount to the end of duopoly of Arvind and Madhura? Such being the milieu, it’s no surprise that the leading apparel player Arvind Brands is trailing the two sure success mantras of the Indian haute couture industry – investing in front-end like retail and the second is to join the bandwagon of grabbing the exclusive marketing right for global brands. In a free willing conversation with B&E, J. Suresh, CEO, Arvind Brands & Retail shares his experience and reveals his future game plans.

B&E: The new millenium saw the entry of many global brands. Do you think franchisee ties with foreign brand still gives a competitive edge against Indian players who have started creating own brands?
JS: Indian consumers always have a liking for global brands and over the past three years, there has been a rise in disposable income and hence the aspiration for global apparel brand has also increased. Our forecast says such a trend will continue. We in Arvind Brands have always believed in offering as many as global brands possible and we will continue to do that...

B&E: But didn’t you create your own brand also, like Excalibur?
JS: We have created four brands like Excalibur, Flying Machine et al but they are for the masses. If you see the entire Indian consumer, it can be segregated into three board categories. Other than the ones in the bottom of the pyramid, which is 50% of the population and the middle income group, like 30-35%, the remaining is the higher income group. We wanted to make sure we are present in all segments, so we focussed on creating our own brands.
B&E: Do you also manufacture for these other franchisee brands?

JS: Apart from Gant, we manufacture for all the brands that we franchise. Gant does its own manufacturing but for the remaining brands we produce. I think as a manufacturer there are advantages of having your own plant and you are not dependent on any other to meet the market demand.

B&E: What’s your key strength?

JS: Our pricing and positioning have been very strong against domestic brands. In apparel business investing in front-end and targeting the proper audience matters a lot, and even we are planning to invest more in front-end like retail. We have big plans with our retail arm MegaMart where we would be retailing other brands also. We would be opening more than 100 stores for MegaMart and EBO for our other brands also like Arrow, for which we are opening 70 stores by the end-2008. We want to become a $1 billion company by 2012.

By:- B&E

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