Raymond's 'complete man' is making place for the woman, too, as the textiles to apparel company launches more brands of clothes for women.
“So far, we have been a men's apparel-dominated brand while women's wear is an interesting market, with not too many organised players in this segment.
We are seriously looking at this segment, which we should be able to announce by January 2007. Yes, we could look at Jvs with international labels, too, or acquire existing brands,” Raymond's president (group apparel) Shreyas Joshi said.
Mr Joshi said women's wear could have multiple brands, like the men's apparel and they would not be able to ignore the ethnic wear segment.
Raymond already has Be:, a brand for women. He admitted that the fabric they make is not really suitable to women's wear hence they would need to source it from elsewhere, just as they do for some categories of men's wear.
Mr Joshi was in Pune for the inauguration of the 12th exclusive Park Avenue flagship store, defined as a category where the store occupies over 4,000 sq ft.
Speaking on the company's strategy to roll out exclusive stores for each of its brands, and separate stores for all its JVs, Mr Joshi said Manzoni, the luxury lifestyle brand for men, which now has two exclusive stores, one each in Mumbai and Delhi, will have five by March 2007.
Manzoni is opening one in Kolkata this month, with plans to open in Bangalore and another in Delhi. By this fiscal end, Raymond's plans to grow its flagship stores across brands. So, Park Avenue, its biggest brand, will have 25 exclusive stores by March 2007, the 12th having opened in Pune on Friday.
Parx, the outdoors and youthful brand, which has five exclusive stores, will have a total of 12 stores, while Zapp!, its children's wear brand, has two and Raymond's plans to add another 10 by the end of the fiscal. It has 16 Be: stores in place with plans to add another four by March, Mr Joshi said.
Earlier on Friday, Raymond has set up a 50:50 joint venture with Italian fashion company Grotto SpA to launch its youth apparel brand, Gas in India.
Initially, the partners will invest Rs 50 crore to distribute the brand through 600 points of retail which would include a mix of flagship stores, franchisee stores as well as a presence in multi-brand department stores.
The first two flagships stores would open in Delhi and Mumbai by February 2007 while the total outlay for flagship stores is around 12-15 over the next three years and around 60 exclusive outlets.
Raymond Group president Pradeep Bhandari said the aim is to reach a Rs 125-crore turnover in the next three years. “Gas is a complete lifestyle brand and will open up new opportunities for our company in the youth segment,” added Mr Bhandari.
Gas, is currently distributed across 56 countries and has a total turnover of Rs 800 crore, of which 60% comes from their domestic market and 40% from exports.
“Outside our main markets of Italy and Europe, we see opportunity in the Far East and the first important country for us is India and therefore this JV is important to us,” said Grotto SpA vice-chairman Aldo Palmeri.
Grotto SpA also plans to utilise the manufacturing capabilities of Raymond to export to other markets like Japan in the long run. Mr Palmeri also sees India as an important base from which to acquire new materials for the brand.
“Worldwide distribution from here is part of our second phase,” added Palmeri. Future plans for Gas include getting into the kids segment which Palmeri does not rule out launching in India. Currently, Grotto SpA also has a merchandising agreement with Honda for apparel.