'We will enter kids wear space in India soon'

'With the growing penetration of the internet, eCommerce has emerged as an important aspect. We have been working on this for the last two years globa

'We will enter kids wear space in India soon'
With a growing number of people in India becoming fashion-conscious, and eCommerce gaining in significance, there is a constant need to update and cater to the tastes of consumers. US Polo Association has understood the market well, and has major plans for India.

In an interaction with Deccan Herald’sN V Vijayakumar, USPA Properties President and CEO David Cummings explains the company’s game plan to further strengthen its presence in the Indian market to cater to the aspirational population.

Can you elaborate on the fashion scene in India?

US Polo Association is a global fashion brand, which started off its business journey in 1890 from US, and now we have presence in 135 countries with over 1,000 trademarks. USPA Properties is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States Polo Association (USPA), and manages the US Polo Association brand.

India is one of the important markets for  us. Over the last decade, our philosophy has been to develop the market by opening up retail stores in the country, so that customers can have a great shopping experience. With departmental stores, we will be able to develop wholesales and reach out to mom and pop stores.

How are you going about expanding your retail presence in India?

Our mono brand showrooms give customers a wonderful shopping experience. Besides bringing out clothing for men, women, and children, the US Polo Association brand also offers accessories, watches, luggage, shoes and home furnishings. At present there are 202 mono brands in the country. Our plan is to open 48 more stores by the end of this year, and our goal is to have 250 stores in India.  

US Polo Association has established its market presence by associating with Arvind Lifestyle Brands. How do you view this relationship?

We have a good long-term relationship with our licensee partners around the globe and even with Arvind in India. We have a cluster approach for marketing, with a master licensee for a region, and other licensees around that.

Li & Fungi from China is the master licensee for the Asian region and then we have cluster licensees spread out in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and India.
They do their own sourcing from their partners and sell in their respective regions. As far as our relationship with Arvind Lifestyle Brands is concerned, we are very much satisfied with the sheer size of the company and its expertise in retailing.

How do you view the penetration of eCommerce in your sales strategy?

With the growing penetration of the internet, eCommerce has emerged as an important aspect. We have been working on this for the last two years globally.

We divide our business into six main regions. Of these, the Asian region is becoming more electronic savvy, and is more driven towards purchasing products and services via the internet. Compared with other countries in eCommerce, India is also seeing traction on this front. Once we provide shopping experience and help customers in understanding the DNA of the brand, then consumers themselves order the product online. We believe that online is important for our growth.

What are your marketing strategies?

We, along with Arvind Lifestyle Brands, bring our quality products that provide consumers value for money. Apart from the expansion of mono brand shops, we are also expanding our eCommerce footprint. We have already selected five eCommerce platforms to sell our products.

We will add a few more as we have been growing in India. Now you can purchase basic products online. We are also planning to open a denim company that will focus on denim products. We will also start a kids wear segment in India soon. Right now, the kids wear segment is at the conceptual stage.

How are you catering to the regional tastes of your customers?

Our design department is headquartered in Europe. Every year, we issue a design guide for women’s wear, men’s wear and also for kids. Our licensees will follow the guide, which contains the patterns, logos, and themes. In case of India, China and South America, we take up concepts from these respective regions and then distribute them to the licensees. The nice thing in the licensing agreement is that products can be tailor-made. We are giving them the flexibility, but at the same time they have to maintain the DNA of the brand. From the design perspective, Indians prefer varied colours and Arvind caters to their demands.


(For the full interview, please visit www.deccanherald.com)

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