marketing
Writer: exchange4media News Service - Saturday, Apr 17,2004 8:24 AM
Liberty plans to step into global arena

The Rs 350-crore footwear manufacturer Liberty Group has sewn up plans to expand its operations by setting up its fourth manufacturing plant in Uttaranchal and 25 exclusive outlets across the country and in seven overseas centres.

The Executive Director of the Liberty Group, Mr. Adarsh Gupta, told Business Line after the press conference that the company decided to establish the plant in Uttaranchal to take advantage of the sales tax concessions including a 10-year tax holiday and local manpower.

In phase-1, an investment of about Rs 5 crore would be made in the plant which will be operational by June.

"This new plant, about 10 km from Dehradun, will focus on high quality footwear that will meet both domestic as also export requirements. Initially it will have the capacity to manufacture 5000 pairs per day and will gradually be ramped up. Some of the employees from three other plants in Haryana, will be sent there to train the local people," he said.

The company currently exports about 25 per cent of the footwear it manufactures to countries such as Germany, Italy, France, the US and the Middle East.

"The recent strengthening of the rupee as opposed to dollar has created some concerns for exporters like us. Traditionally, we are not accustomed to hedging. The only way out is to have a healthy mix of exports," Mr Gupta said.

"The company's retail strategy has undergone drastic changes. As opposed to earlier model of expanding retail outlets, we plan to bring down the number of retailers from 5000 to 4000. We do not want retail presence for namesake but we want real brand presence", he said.

"We have carved out Liberty Retail Revolution Ltd., a subsidiary early this year, aimed at building our own exclusive retail outlets as opposed to the franchisee model adopted earlier. So far three outlets including one today at Hyderabad have been set up. The other two were commissioned in Kolkata and Mumbai. In the next 24 months, we expect to establish about 25 such outlets across the country. Typically, each of this self-owned outlet would see an investment of Rs.75 lakhs," he said.

Apart for this restructured retail thrust, the company is expanding operations overseas. It would establish seven outlets in Singapore, Kaula Lumpur, Bangkok, Dubai, Karachi, Dhaka and Colombo.

Announcing the launch of its first such outlet in Hyderabad at Prasad's Imax centre here, Mr. Gupta said three more outlets were underway at Forum in Kolkata, The DLF Mega Mall in Gurgaon, and CR2 at Nariman Point.

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