Source : https://www.dnaindia.com
Despite being a late entrant in India, brand Puma has gathered momentum over the last 13 years and has now achieved a leadership position in terms of revenues. Abhishek Ganguly, managing director, Puma Sports India Pvt Ltd, in conversation with Ashish K Tiwari, speaks about the business in India and new developments.
The sports footwear, apparel and accessories space has become very crowded. How’s Puma warming up to this scenario in the market?
We probably entered the Indian market much later than others did – in the early 90s when liberalisation happened and led to an influx a lot of international brands in the apparel, lifestyle, sports categories. We forayed in 2006 and were probably among the last few entrants and that’s what makes our story very interesting. We have now become market leaders by revenue despite the late entry. And with a host of new brands making a beeline for India, it makes our journey more interesting because the market here is very buoyant and our growth is really stupendous. There hasn’t been a single year without growth, which is very exceptional for a business.
How’s this year looking in terms of growth?
It looks fabulously interesting. Last year, we grew about 22% and we are targeting 25% growth this year. If you look at our target of 25% given the base we already have, the size is as good as adding a brand. That’s the kind of business that we plan to add this year. There are two great global brands we compete with but the very fact that we have been ahead of them, speaks a lot about what we have been able to achieve. We are market leaders and would definitely like to maintain the position. I always say that how we have got here is great but how will we continue to stay here will need a very different and new approach to stay at the number one position and we are just trying to do that.
By two global brands you mean Adidas and Reebok combine and Nike?
No, we are considering them (Adidas and Reebok) separately because that’s how they report globally. As for Nike, it’s the third-largest brand. So the pecking order goes like this – Puma, Adidas, Nike, Skechers and Reebok.
What’s the revenue contribution from various product categories?
Approximately 38% of our business is from apparels, 10% is accessories and 52% is footwear. While sports apparel is growing very well, we think this ratio will stay so for some time now.
Any new product categories that you plan to enter this year?
We will be entering the body wear segment with watches. Last year, Puma SE signed a global license partnership agreement with Fossil Group Inc for the design, development and distribution of Puma watches and smartwatches. A lot of work has already been done in this space and we should be launching the watches very soon in this year. Similarly, we are taking our association with Virat Kohli’s One8 brand to the next level. We will enter the kids’ segment with One8 branded products like footwear, apparels and more.
What’s your exclusive retailing footprint as of now?
We have 365 exclusive Puma brand outlets across the country. We are also available at multi-brand outlets like Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, Central, etc. Then we are also selling through regional players like a Kapsons in Punjab and Options – The Fashion Mall in Mumbai to name a few.
How big a challenge is counterfeit products?
It will always be a challenge in the growing market. There are two types of counterfeits. The first one is a complete knockoff which is actually not a challenge because everyone will figure it out. The other is something that looks and resembles like an original and that’s definitely a challenge. We have created a department that conducts raids with government authorities to counter it. I think this is going to be an ongoing phenomenon in India. While the approach is helping to some extent, the problem is quite large. That’s where retail partnerships come into play to ensure our customers get genuine/original products.