"Now the focus is on opening large sized stores": Bijit Nair

In an exclusive conversation with Bijit Nair, President - Retail at House of Anita Dongre Limited throws light on expansion strategy of HOAD.

‘AND’ has become an iconic brand pls shed the light on journey of the brand so far. Also pls highlight the current distribution of the brand? Global Desi is yet another iconic brand from the House of Anita Dongre(HOAD)  which is ruling the fashion market. Shed light on this brand as well. 

Our journey has been quite interesting, we had  launched the brand ‘AND’ in the year 1995, and the Gobal Desi came into existence in 2007. However, the watershed years for us has been past four years when we have expanded significantly with both the brands as well as Anita Dongre. ‘AND’ is clearly positioned as western wear brand, and Global  Desi can be called as  bohochic brand. Apart from this, we have bridal prêt store called Anita Dongre and Grassroot, which especially cater to international markets. The way we have expanded and the market we have explored ‘AND’ and Global Desi are clearly emerged as highstreet fashion brands and continue to positioned on same lines.  

We believe that Indian women fashion is here to stay; in fact, it is the fastest growing channel as well as the category within the apparel industry. The brand Global Desi has more than 145 exclusive stores and AND has more than 125 stores. We also operate via channel partners including Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle etc. So, all together we have 1000 point of sale in the country as of now.

Do you think you are competing with international labels such as H&M and Zara with ‘AND’ and Global Desi?

I don’t say we compete with Zara or H&M, primarily; they are the big box retailers. But, if we look at stand alone store of other international brands such as Vero Moda, Benetton especially in small towns where these brands are present, we certainly have an edge over them in terms of size of our business and strong brand patronage since we are more than two decades old brand.

Indian women relate to our brand extremely well as we have positioned the brand in such manner that Indian women find it very comfortable to wear. Quality is our main USP. The way we have penetrated in last one and half year especially in tier II and III markets, where international brands are not foraying much, we are more successful in catching more eyeballs to try our product in such markets.

What is your TG for both the brands?

As strategy, we would want women of all age group to experience the brand. However, for Global Desi , we target women within the age group of 22 to 35, and for AND our rage is 25 to 35 aged women . Though we love women of other age group to come and try our products.

Can you give us sense how much footfall both the brands are registering averagely?

The footfall number varies market to market, and also depends on location whether it is mall or high street. I do not wish to divulge any number, but I can say it in line with competitive numbers.

So, what would your ideal location to expand mall or high street? Also, shed light on strategy for small towns?

We don’t differentiate between the high street and mall locations. In Delhi/ NCR we are equally present across all prominent malls as well as high streets. Last year we opened around 100 stores of AND and Gobal Desi maily in tier II cities. Among this 70% were high street locations. For small towns, our focus is on prominent markets (depend on brand present and their positioning). And, these days’ consumers are becoming very demanding as they are well travelled and aware of ongoing fashion trends. With the advent of social media even small towns are not left behind. For example, North East market, recently, we have opened a store in Itanagar which is doing extremely well in terms of churning better revenue.

How the company is mulling over expand the existing categories under both brands? Also shed light on your best performing categories?

We would be introducing denim line under AND in coming season. We feel there is big business opportunity in accessories and footwear as well. We plan to invest in these two categories. Now we are focusing to expand the size of the store, for example,in Lajpat Nagar New Delhi we have opened 4000 sq.ft of store. Earlier we used to have smaller stores between 800-100 0 sq.ft , now the company is looking to expand via larger shops.  

Typically, tops, tunics and bottoms do exceptionally well. In fact, our 20%-25% business is generated by these categories.

Denim as a category is already over crowned with so many international labels. What kind of business you are expecting from this category?

I am not competing with leading denim brands because we are not positioned as demin brand neither we plan to. Our USP will be 'fit' and 'styling' for which the brand is known for. Irrespective the age group,  all women these days must procure  at least has three-four pairs of denim in their wardrobe. So, our business needs denim category. We would be introducing denim in both top and bottom category and it will be a pan India launch.

What sort of response the brand is churning from market places and webstore?

Our online business has been growing constantly from our online store. However, we get better result from market places comparing our exclusive webstore. We would be launching our omni-channel shortly; the focus is launch full- fledged omni channel business model in the time to come. As of now, we would be doing a small pilot project.

Any comment on upcoming GST. Had the brand offered any pre GST sale?

No, there was no pre GST sale, though we have started the eoss to liquidate the old stock. Alike to every year, we would be offering the discount of 30% to 40% across the categories. We are not looking to any MRP change due to GST.

How the company is mulling the expansion for all its brands this year?

This year I am looking to open another 50 stores for both the brands including ‘AND’ and Gobal  Desi. We are shortly opening prêt store and Grassroot store in New York. International expansion is also an important part of our business especially for the Grass Root business. Presently, we are present in Mauritius, Sri Lanka, and we are looking at Nepal and Middle East market also. Bridal as well as prêt is growing very strongly.

Any comment on expansion via franchise model?

Last year we expanded our franchise network very strongly.  Among the 100 stores we opened  last year 60% were franchised stores. This year too we would continue to grow and expand our franchise network.













Bijit Nair