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Live-In to shut down own stores; plans to run on franchisees

20-October-2004
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Live-In to shut down own stores; plans to run on franchisees

Microtex India Ltd, part of the VIP group, is discontinuing the company-owned stores of its apparel brand, Live-In. The company is rejigging Live-In's retail plans and would focus on franchisee run stores and the distributor-led multi-brand outlet (MBO) channel to propel the mass marketed brand.

Company officials said that the decision to shut down own stores followed an understanding that it was not a "viable and profitable" business proposition.

"We are closing down most of our company-owned stores. We currently have nearly 25 exclusive stores which are run by the franchisees," they added.

The company also operates through nearly 27 distributors across the country, who will take the brand to the MBOs. Meanwhile, Microtex retails Live-In through its large format departmental store chain, Expo.

Live-In, which claims a retail sales turnover in excess of Rs 55 crore, had over 60 exclusive stores and had talked about plans to expand its retailing to cover the top 120 urban centres in the country.

A typical Live-In store occupied a space of 1,100-2,000 sq ft entailing an investment of Rs 3,000 per sq ft.

Microtex had talked about maintaining 1:2 ratio between company-owned and dealership-run stores. The brand, priced between Rs 550 to Rs 900, started off as a core denim brand before developing a sizable non-denim portfolio. In the mass marketed segment, it competed with Arvind's Newport and a host of other smaller regional labels.

The officials refuted market speculation that Microtex was scaling down operations of Live-In and was looking for an exit option from the business.

"We continue to promote the brand, and it is work as usual. We are running the brand campaign on national channels like Star Movies and SET Max, besides on regional channels."

The officials also claimed that the brand found its way to roughly 4,000 outlets even though they did not mentioned how many of them were active accounts.The South remains a strong market for the brand, which derives substantial revenues from Andhra Pradesh.

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