UK-based Marks & Spencer, which plans to double its presence in India with its partner Reliance Retail, has seen an increase in local sourcing from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to 67%. Till two years ago, the company was sourcing 52% from India. In fact, 33% of all M&S’s general merchandise products sold around the globe are made in this region.
The company’s MD for India Venu Nair says that the company has an established sourcing operation in India and south Asia, which supports its growing business in the Indian market as well as its UK and other international markets.
“Sourcing from this region has increased for our global business as well. This is why we added nine stores this year and plan to add six more. All our segments are growing in double digits,” Nair told FE.
However, though the company plans to enter smaller cities like Kochi and Vadodara for the first time, it will not launch all sub-brands there. For instance, the company brought its high-end suiting brand Savile Row in its recently opened flagship store in Bandra in Mumbai. This week, the retailer introduced an extended range of beauty products lines comprising 700 such products at a store in New Delhi.
“There are opportunities for us in new cities of the country. We offer sub-brands according to the market. Kanpur and Mohali are the next big catchment areas where we plan to setup stores,” Nair added.
Local sourcing has allowed M&S to tailor its products according to the Indian market and ensure its pricing remains competitive. For example, local sourcing has allowed M&S to offer linen products in India all year round. M&S sells over half a million pieces of linen clothing every year in India, accounting for 15% of sales.
M&S formed its JV partnership with Reliance Retail in 2008 and now has 36 stores in India, trading from a total of over 500,000 square feet. As part of M&S’ plans take its business in India to the next level, it will open a further eight stores by the end of March 2014, followed by a further 36 stores in the next two years.