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German fashion brand Hugo Boss eyes ambitious growth in India

28-October-2005
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German fashion brand Hugo Boss eyes ambitious growth in India

After ensuring that the German fashion and lifestyle brand, Hugo Boss (annual turnover of more than one billion Euros), posted double digit growth of 35 per cent year-on-year in India, Dubai-based business group Bin Hendi Enterprises has charted out an ambitious growth plan on the product sales, distribution and advertising front.

On the distribution front, there are plans to increase the number of exclusive outlets in metropolitan cities such as Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore even while eyeing lucrative cities such as Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai.

The advertising spend will be increased to 10 per cent of the total Indian sales turnover. There are plans to introduce the Hugo Boss range for women in India by next year. For the festive season, the Hugo Boss team unveiled the Boss Black and Boss Orange menswear for Fall Winter 2005.

Dr Bruno Saelzer, Chairman and CEO, Hugo Boss, is currently visiting India (end October) and overseeing the unfolding of the ambitious Indian plans. However, the positioning of the brand will remain in sync with the global norms.

In fact, even the designing of the Hugo Boss outlets in India adhere to the international formats and standards. And the importer and retailer, Bin Hendi Enterprises, ensures that these stringent standards are maintained across India.

While speaking exclusively to exchange4media.com, T N Pratap, CEO, Bin Hendi Enterprises, confirmed, “After opening the second exclusive outlet in Mumbai at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in October 2005, we shall ramp up the distribution in the other metros while expanding to the Tier II towns. Bin Hendi Enterprises plans to have four more Boss exclusive outlets in India (in addition to the ones in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore) by the end of 2005. The investment in each exclusive Boss outlet will be around Rs 30-40 million. Later on, we shall also explore other retailing concepts such as special corners, shop-in-shops and sections in top-end malls and department stores.”

Incidentally, Pratap claimed that the Indian customs and excise duties as well as levies had resulted in an increase of 55-60 per cent in the price range of Hugo Boss products in India. “However, as a policy, we don’t pass on the increase to Indian customers but ensure that the mark-up is lesser. Our core range of suits cost between Rs 39,000 and Rs 65,000.”

While speaking about the advertising plans, Pratap alluded that they would focus on print media. “We are testing outdoor media in the metros, but there are no plans to leverage a television campaign as yet,” he added.

He insisted that there was substantial awareness of the brand in India as was proved by the focus groups and research conducted by them in India. “The expatriate Indian population and frequent travelers understand the significance of the Hugo Boss brand. We are communicating that the same international fashion and lifestyle brand has now come to their doorstep,” he further said.

However, Pratap clarified that the group was not targeting south India as much as the western and northern markets. “Its not just about affordability but also about mindset. Indians in the West and the North are more open to trying out new internationally acclaimed brands,” he pointed out.

Referring to the promotions and sponsorship plans, Pratap explained, “For the first time, we conducted an End of the Year sale in 2005. However, we don’t offer discounts so as to avoid harming the existing brand equity. As far as sponsorships are concerned, we shall follow the international guidelines. Hugo Boss doesn’t have a brand ambassador, but it does support prominent sporting personalities in golf and Formula One racing. However, we are very selective.”

The Bin Hendi Enterprises is one of the largest groups of the UAE with interests in food, fashion and luxury lifestyle products. The group currently operates 29 successful fashion, jewellery, accessory and food retail outlets, while their trading division reaches over 1,000 retailers. The group is looking to establish the company as a leader in one of the world’s most exciting and affluent markets.

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