Japanese sportswear major Asics will not renew its exclusive distribution pact with Reliance Retail and is setting up its own sales operations with plans to open up to 35 mono-brand stores in India to tap the growing market here.
The company that has been in India through distribution partnership since 2009 has launched its own wholesale operations under Asics India Pvt Ltd from this month to work with franchise partners.
"We have an exclusive distribution agreement with Reliance Retail (Footprint) which will be finished by end of March 2015," Asics India Director Rajat Khurana said.
He said although the company would work with various trade partners directly "Reliance will be our preferred partner for retail operations in India."
The company said: "The change is intended to bolster sales of Asics products in the country."
Bullish on the Indian market, Khurana said: "First year's sales target is Rs 28 crore. We aim to triple the sales in three years. Our plan is to open 30-35 mono-brand stores, mainly in metro cities through our franchise partners."
In the first year, the company plans to open 4-5 mono-brand stores, he added.
Currently, the company has one such store in Kochi operated by Reliance Retail.
Commenting on Asics' plans in India, Asics Asia Pacific Division Senior General Manager and Asics India Director Dae Chul Kim said: "India is a promising market and has a huge potential.
"We plan to expand our sales network and bolster marketing support for retail shops in order to establish Asics' value and image as a true sport performance brand."
Kim further said: "Running is the fastest growing category in sports in India. So, we will be focusing on popularising the sport..."
The company's products, priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 12,500, will compete with the likes of Nike and Adidas.
To promote its products, Asics has been sponsoring events like the Mumbai Marathon for which it is the official sponsor.
"We will build our brand image as true sport performance brand among consumers. We will directly reach to consumers through services such as running clinics.
"Also, we will increase brand exposure, seeking opportunities in cricket, the national sport," Khurana added.