Guess?, the globally renowned brand symbolising funky and fun fashion since 1981, has formally entered the Indian market. Delhi-based retail chain Planet Sports, the exclusive franchisee for Marks & Spencer (M&S) in India, and Guess? Inc have signed a licensing agreement to bring the clothing brand to India.
Guess? apparel and accessories (watches, jewellery, hand-bags, etc) will be available at eight free-standing stores in India (four in Mumbai, two in Delhi and one each in Bangalore and Hyderabad). They will also be seen in shop-in-shops of selected Pantaloon retail outlets as the retail major has recently bought a stake in Planet Sports.
Elaborating more on the launch, Giuliano Sartori, Vice-President, Indian Retail Licensing, Guess? Inc, said, “We have 179 free-standing stores and 160 shop-in-shops in Asia. This is substantial presence compared to 600 free-standing stores in 68 countries.”
“We have been eyeing the Indian market for several years and conducted a lot of research during the last few years. Finally, we found an ideal retailing partner in Planet Sports. V P Sharma (Chairman, Planet Sports) is a seasoned player in retailing and has the ability to leverage retail estate, which is the key in this joint venture partnership,” Sartori added.
His aim is to have 40 free-standing outlets in the next three years. Sartori further said that the core price range of Guess? products would be $80-$130 for denims (internationally, denim contributes a lot to the Guess? turnover) and $80-$90 on an average for all the products.
“In India, due to the levies (insurance, freight), etc, the prices of the Guess? products will be 10 per cent higher than in the US,” he said. The core target group is the young-at-hearts in the 20-35 SEC AB demographic.
Planet Sports’ Sharma said, “Since the last year or so, we have been building the distribution network. We shall concentrate on the metros initially and penetrate the Tier II towns only after two-three years. As far as marketing communication is concerned, we shall spend 10-12 per cent of our sales on the same. We have been banking on outdoor advertising and will be doing more events.”
Sartori didn’t rule out the possibility of identifying certain upcoming Indian models and celebrities to get them associated with the Guess? brand. Internationally, Guess? has been linked to well-known faces such as Claudia Schiffer, Paris Hilton and Naomi Campbell among others.
“However, the style and tone of the global campaign will be maintained in India. We shall leverage the same graphics, visuals and message as in the global campaigns,” he added.
Eventually, Guess? Accessories retail concepts will also be brought to India. Internationally, there are 50 such retail concepts across the world and there will be three such Guess? Accessories stores in India. Planet Sports intends to increase the number to 200 over the next few years.
The launch was commemorated by a fashion show in Mumbai conducted by model-choreographer, Marc Robinson, where leading models walked the ramp in trend Guess? apparel and accessories.
Planet Sports has the licensing rights for a number of global brands, including Wilson, Puma, Speedo and Converse. The promoters of Planet Sports also own the franchising license for Starbucks in Indonesia.
Sharma said that the move to tie up with Guess fitted in with its strategy of expanding into different types of lifestyle categories. M&S has six exclusive shops in India, Planet Sports runs around 25 stores.