Clarks, the internationally acclaimed footwear brand, has stepped into the Indian market. The UK brand enjoys almost 180 years of brand heritage internationally. It has in its portfolio the entire range from career wear to weekend wear for men and women, with prices starting from Rs 2,500 and going up to Rs 7,000.
The brand has opened exclusive stores in Mumbai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad and is on target to open two more exclusive stores, one each in Delhi and Kolkata by year-end. Elaborating on the company’s plans, Sarah Lynch, International Director, Clarks, said, “Ever since its launch, Clarks has been revolutionising the footwear industry through continual product innovations. The brand has carved a niche in the industry and has set standards in style and fashion in the world market. With the Indian market offering tremendous growth potential, we now venture to head steadfast further into the Asian subcontinent, especially India. Worldwide it’s now the biggest non-sports lifestyle shoe brand with 45 million pairs of shoes sold annually and a $1 billion turnover in 2004.”
In India, the brand is promoted by Lifestyle Asia Pvt Ltd (LAPL), which has an expertise of having exclusive licenses and distribution rights of premium brands in the country.
Nilesh Hada, Director, LAPL, said, “Several fashion brands have made a foray into the Indian market in recent years. The Indian consumer is well evolved and one can see a metamorphosis in their choice for brands and quality fashion. The branded footwear market that is an unexploited territory clubbed with the growing demand from the Asian markets has led us to open exclusive stores that will cater to the Indian aspiration values.”
Clarks has big plans for the Indian market and believes this market will be one of its biggest internationally. At present, the UK contributes 66 per cent of the sales, while 34 per cent comes from its international presence. The company is determined to change this ratio in the coming years to 40 per cent from UK and 60 per cent from the international market. The shoe brand is investing Rs 25 crore annually and will increase this as the market grows.
“We definitely want to globalise our business now. We are already present in more than 160 countries with major chunk of the business coming from the UK market. Over the next five years we want to grow the international per cent of business,” Lynch said.
Clarks has chosen the print and outdoor route for communicating its presence in the country and is working with Makani Advertising as its media agency. The creatives are global creatives created by St Lukes, London. The advertising and promotional spends are targeted at about 30 per cent of the sales revenue.
Apart from the exclusive stores, the brand is already present in 32 outlets across the country and by the end of year will be available in over 100 outlets. Hada added, “We want to open on an average one exclusive outlet every month and want to add another six to seven outlets in a year’s time.”