The US-based brand aims to provide a completely new experience in India with its new concept and large format lifestyle stores.
Guess Inc, the Los Angeles-based lifestyle brand and retailer, has set up Guess India to expand its presence in the country. The decision comes in after norms were eased by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, wherein FDI-funded companies are now allowed to sell products under a single label with multiple retailing options including own stores, franchisees and wholesale retailing.
The brand entered India in 2012 and since then, has been operating in the country through a distributor model. Now, with the new move enforcing its policy of maintaining direct control over brand development in key markets here, Guess will offer its complete lifestyle collection.
“Categories which were never launched in India will now be a part of the collection. Our stores in India now will be a replica of our international stores. The company will also be able to use its full resources to fuel the growth of the brand,” highlights
Lander Isasi, MD, Guess — Middle East, SE Asia, Australia and India.
In addition to apparel for both women and men, Guess markets other fashion accessories such as watches, jewellery,
perfumes and shoes.The increasing fashion quotient Denim is among the highest growth categories in the Indian apparel market. As per Technopak, the market size of Indian denim wear stood at Rs 20,205 crore in 2016. It is now projected to grow at a CAGR of 14.5% to reach Rs 39,651 crore by 2021 and Rs 77,999 crore by 2026. A large chunk of this — 84% — comprised men’s denim while the denim segment for women and children comprised 10% and 6%, respectively.
“Today’s Indian customer has access to all fashion brands. A 30-year woman or man is younger in terms of fashion quotient than their same age counterparts 10 years back,” points out Isasi while adding that India has always been a strategic market and given the recent relaxation of FDI norms, Guess is embarking on its retail expansion directly.
The brand is looking at a three to five years expansion plan to cover tier I cities and reach out to tier II cities.“We will tie up with various e-tailers (Myntra, Jabong and Flipkart) and shop-in-shop partners (Shoppers Stop, Iconic and Central to begin with) to strengthen our reach,” informs Isasi. Guess plans to set up two to three stores in India in the near future and increase that number to eight to 10 stores in another two years, apart from launching its own e-commerce presence. While apparel categories have been increasingly growing with the advent of e-tail in India, online shopping of denim has not yet picked up as consumers cannot touch, feel or try the product.
Price matters still
The challenge of pricing does create an obstacle for premium brands, since it plays an important factor in the purchase journey for the Indian mass consumer. Affordable fashion brands have taken away customers from relatively upscale players in markets across the globe with premium brands losing their footing in the market. Says Harsha Razdan, partner and head — consumer markets, KPMG India, “Customer outreach could be a huge challenge for premium denim manufacturers since marketing spends could be huge to reach the masses and compete with local manufacturers.”
Also, customers today are more informed, aware and research-driven. “Almost all international fashion brands are already here, so competition is in sync with respect to our global positioning in terms of fashion and pricing,” says Isasi. “We have multiple categories which drive our growth.”