Clarks, the famous British footwear brand, set foot in India in April, 2011, through Clarks Future Footwear Ltd, an equal joint-venture with the Future Group. The company opened its first store at Connaught Place—the shopping district of New Delhi, and at present has 24 shops across the country. Additionally, it forged partnerships with other retail companies and currently, enjoys presence across Lifestyle, Metro, Reliance stores, and Shoppers Stop outlets.
The company took off with an investment budget of 10 million pounds for the first three years. It plans to increase the number of stores to 31 by the end of this year and is further looking at taking the number to 100 in the next five years. The footwear brand claims to have sold over 3,00,000 pairs in a year and now, aims to take the number to a million pairs per year. In a conversation with FE BrandWagon’s Anushree Bhattacharyya, Andrew Martland, president, Asia Pacific, Clarks, talks about how the brand is still in the phase of discovering the Indian consumer.
How has been the response to the brand Clarks in India, so far?
The brand has been received very positively in the Indian market. The response towards the brand has indicated that the consumer in India is aware about global trends and while making a purchase decision considerable amount of importance is given to style.We have seen acceptance of colours, silhouettes and styles of footwear that are popular globally. Our unique ‘man tailoring’ positioning used for women’s product has resonated strongly with the Indian consumer. I think we have been lucky as people have good knowledge and understanding of the brand which so far was only available to them in international markets like London or Dubai.
Aren’t you a late entrant in the market, given that some of the homegrown brands are already established players?
We don’t look at it that way. The Indian footwear market is very unique when compared to the rest of the world. There is a very strong presence of Bata – which has been present in the country for over four decades now. However, at the same time, it is seen more as a home grown brand. The fact that it has been present here for such a long time it gave Bata the time to move, adjust and expand across the country. But one should not forget the fact that Bata operates at a cheaper price range