Samsonite India Ltd is gearing up to enter the mid-segment luggage market in a big way to take on VIP. It plans to relaunch American Tourister brand to compete with VIP’s mid-segment luggage. Samsonite acquired American Tourister brand in 1998.
“Till now we were testing the market,” says Samsonite South Asia Pvt Ltd president Ramesh Tainwala. “We are going to take on rivals in the marketplace by the end of this calendar year,” he added.
Samsonite is planning to launch a 15-month high-pitch ad programme to promote American Tourister in the market. It has cleared a Rs 20-crore budget for its global ad agency TBWA Worldwide to go ahead with the promo campaigns during 2004. The company’s ad budget for 2003 was Rs 8 crore. It is thinking of increasing the adspend to Rs 100 crore by 2006-07.
To increase the availability of American Tourister brands, Samsonite proposes to enter small towns and semi-urban areas by expanding its dealer network to 600 by 2006 from the present 250. The luggage has been priced Rs 800 onwards to make it competitive in the market.
While pushing American Tourister brand in the mid-segment, Samsonite will also strengthen its hold in the premium-end market. It plans to increase the number of exclusive ‘Samsonite Travel World’ showrooms to 165 from the present 143 by 2005. In a change of strategy, the company is proposing to relocate at least 40 of its high-street showrooms in new market malls that are coming up in various metros and cities.
Smelling a new business opportunity in the manufacturing of laptop and business cases, Samsonite is now focusing on that—20 per cent of its business now comes from this segment. Samsonite expects at least 30 per cent of its turnover to come from business cases by next year. It is selling cases to companies like Microsoft, DEL and HP, among others.