What started back in 1994 as Moja shoes has now turned into ‘THE BRAND HUB’. SSIPL group is the niche name in footwear retailing. The group was the first to start footwear manufacturing for Nike in India. The company forayed into organized retailing in the year 1998 by setting up the first exclusive Nike store at South Extension, New Delhi.
This feat was followed by many more successful partnerships with key international brands. Today, it is a leading retailer of many international brands across the categories including Nike, Clarks, Levi’s, Benetton, Asics, and Lotto and running multi brand outlets under its own branded store namely, Shoetree, Value Station and recently launched Sports Station. Presently, the company runs around 380 stores of various brands.
With the launch of Sport Station, SSIPL has positioned itself as the market leader in the footwear category. Sport Station is a multi brand concept and retails over eight to ten international brands in the sports category including Nike, Adidas , Skechers, Reebok, Asics, Puma, Converse, mmojah amongst others. SSIPL has partnered with India licensees of these brands and working purely on buying and selling model. Mmojah is its own private label.
Speaking exclusively with indianretailer.com, Rishab Soni, Managing Director, SSIPL Retail Limited, said, “Globally, MBO is a very establish channel, if you look at global market we have seen a healthy mix of EBOs and MBOs. They both exist together without marring the interest of each other. At the initial stage of the Indian market, there was a sharp interest for EBOS, but now the market is maturing to a next level where people will like to see multi brand outlet.”
Speaking further he informed, “In the sports category, there was there was huge vacuum as far as multi brand outlets are concerned. We aim to fill that gap with Sports Station.”
As per him sportswear category should evolve at the rate of 7% to 12% over next few years. The growth rate of sports category is much higher than lifestyle category.
Presently, the company is running around 50 stores of Sports Station on pan India locations. Among these three are flagship stores. Average size of stores is 1000 sq.ft.; however, the flagship stores are spread across 2000 sq.ft. Currently, maximum Sport Station stores are company owned; however, the franchise model is also introduced in few stores.
“We will evaluate the franchise opportunity on occasion basis,” said Soni. As per him, Nike and skechers are turning to be larger brands at Sports Station in terms of consumption.
The company is targeting about 25-30 new stores every year of this format, at least for the next 3 years, and would also be looking at gradually increasing our average store size as well.
Highlighting the category performance within sportswear range he said, “If we look 10 years back ‘running’ used to be the biggest category, now we are seeing similar traction for tennis, basket ball categories. Though, running is still the largest category.”
Speaking on portfolio extension, he said, “We have a very good representation of entire sportswear category. As and when any new international brand enters the market we would certainly approach the brand to be part of Sports Station.”
He also informed that the company will continue to expand the EBO portfolio of Nike, Clarks, Lotto and Levi’s. “We are already running around 160 stores of Nike and we will keep on increasing the number. We aim to open 10-20 stores on yearly basis,” informed Soni.
Speaking on Levi’s expansion, he said, “Presently, we are operating about 60 stores of Levi’s, depending upon the market opportunity we would further expand the brand. ‘Bottoms’ continues to be the strong category for the brand; however, now we are seeing good traction for ‘tops’ as well.”