The Mumbai-based ANZ Lifestyles is putting its best foot forward by setting up around 20 Marco Ricci exclusive shoe stores in nine cities by the end of 2006. This expansion plan will include franchise offerings and setting up company owned stores.
"With the ongoing retail boom, brands will soon occupy a centre space in the economy. We plan to capitalise on this opportunity and enhance our brand visibility," Mr Mehboob Haider, Managing Director, ANZ Lifestyles, told Business Line.
While Marco Ricci has presence across 250 multi-brand outlets and one exclusive store at the In-Orbit Mall in Mumbai, it plans to set up six more stores in Mumbai, five in Delhi, four in Hyderabad and three in Bangalore.
"The fund raising strategy for the expansion is three-fold — from banks, internal accruals, and a few angel investors, who have participated in our earlier investments. The expansion of the product line will also add to the coffers," Mr Haider said.
While ANZ Lifestyles will handle the marketing aspects of Marco Ricci, it has entered into a strategic tie-up with the Noida-based M&B footwear, which handles all its manufacturing function. "When we took off with Marco Ricci, we used to import every product. Now 40 per cent of our shoes are imported, and the rest is manufactured by M&B," Mr Haider added.
The overall footwear business is estimated at Rs 4,000 crore of which the organised sector accounts for around 30 per cent, with footwear monoliths such as Bata, Liberty, Action, commanding chunks of the mass market.
The premium Marco Ricci shoes command prices of Rs 2,200 and upwards, where the only competitor is from the US-based Florshem shoes, which has its presence through franchisees.
ANZ Lifestyles' business plan for 2005 is to initially focus on garnering sizeable retail presence for the Italian brand. This will be followed with the introduction of Marco Ricci garments, accessories and products specific to men's wardrobe.
"We plan to launch men's garments such as bottom wear denim's by May. This will follow host of other launches such as men's soap, deodorants, and facial screens," said Mr Haider.
ANZ Lifestyles spent around Rs 2.5 crore on advertising and promotions on a turnover of Rs 9.5 crore registered in March 2004. The company has signed on actor Sanjay Dutt as its brand ambassador.