Hasbro, the Chennai-based menswear company, which manufactures and sells the Genesis and Basics brands, has announced its business plans for 2005-06. It also revealed that its strategic shift in positioning from 'quality and price' to a fashion-oriented, more youthful and international touch and feel across merchandise, retailing and communication, is to evolve further in the coming year.
Suhail Sattar, Partner, Hasbro, said, "Fashion is the way forward. Value and pricing are not the only things that will excite the customer, who is now better informed and more fashion-conscious." Hasbro is also setting up a design studio. It will be launched in the 'next few months' at a cost of Rs 10 to Rs 12 crore.
"The South Indian male's expectations of brands have changed. The stereotype of the South Indian male itself has changed. Also, top international brands are going to walk into the market. We need to be ready for that," he added.
The company's turnover last year was Rs.35 crore, and the partners said that the target for the current financial year was Rs.50 crore. The company shared a business growth figure of 40 per cent across markets last year. In 2004, the Genesis and Basics brands evolved with a focus on fashion, resulting in a significant evolution in the product line itself, according to the company.
The Basics brand has also undergone a logo change, in keeping with the changing face of Hasbro brands. It is now that of a 'triumphant man with his hands raised' in a vibrant red. The company has earmarked an ad spend of Rs.4.5 crore for the financial year, and the advertising is handled by Radical, a Chennai-based agency.
The company, which has 14 exclusive outlets in South India, is planning to ramp up the count to 24 by the end of the financial year. An investment of Rs.3.5 crore has been estimated for this retail expansion alone. The count would go up to 50 across South India soon, according to the partners. It currently sells through fully owned outlets and franchisee outlets, besides mutli-brand stores. It's international presence, apart from exports, is through three outlets in the Gulf and one in Sri Lanka. Currently, its exports (branded alone) account for 10-15 per cent of its incomes.
Regarding expansion in North, Hanif Sattar, another partner, categorically stated that no such plans were on the anvil, though its brands did have a presence through multi-brand stores across the country.
"Let us explore the potential of the South Indian market fully and then we'll definitely move up North," he said.