Liberty was the part of Opportunity India Summit 2017 which was recently conculded in the capital city New Delhi. Also present at occasion Anupam Bansal, Executive Director, Liberty Group interacted with indianretailer.com at the sidelines of the event. Interview excerpt..
How many more franchised store the brand is looking to open?
There is no limit, I think India has a potential where I see more than 1000 stores could be possible from 400 right now which is our actual store count at present. I would happy to expend about 100 stores year on year basis on franchised model.
Footwear segment has become extremely competitive with constant burgeon of international entries. So what would be piece of advice to potential investor?
I don’t think market has become competitive. Footwear industry in India is still largely dominated by unorganized sector. In fact, the share of unorganized segment is more than 80 percent. The consumer trend is very clear that most of the unorgainsed players shifting into the branded segment. I think there is a big opportunity and to be honest I don’t see much competition in a micro sense.
E-commerce is yet another distribution channel which is growing very fast. How do you segregate franchise vs online distribution and which would be your preferred business model?
The whole market share of e-commerce is less than three percent of the industry. Even if you look at mature markets e-commerce has not garnered more than 10 percent share in any part of the world. I don’t think India would be exception. Footwear is a fashion product where people want touch and feel experience before buying the product. Moreover, more than 80% e-commerce business is based on discounts, people buys form there just because of discounts. As per data, there are hardly fresh sales (new products) happen online. Furthermore, I don’t see online as a threat, it could be a support model. And, I don’t agree that consumers are completely shifting online, they always want to experience the product first.
Liberty is also retailed via online channel. So, what is your strategy to balance the synergy between these two channels?
We have online presence via market places as well as online. We are conscious about the fact that we are not looking to create unnecessary competition between offline and online. Our strategy is very clear, we very particular about maintaining the price parity across the channels. The consumer chooses what channel he wants to buy from, we as a brand don’t offer any extra discount to promote any particular channel. We do not intend to kill touch and feel enabled shopping.
So offline generates maximum traction for the brand in terms of purchasing?
You cannot generalize the trend. It varies consumer to consumer and the product category in which he is shopping. I don’t think online consumer has stopped going offline market or vice versa. For example, a time pressed consumer may choose online who otherwise shops from offline market. So the brand has to be present across the channels. However, one thing I am sure about that online will never grow beyond 10% of the total industry. Online may be a convenient model for some but in country like India people have plenty of time and they want to touch and feel. I don’t think brick and mortar ever fall down in this country.
Apart from your usual range any new brand or category has been introduced?
Healers is the new brand which we have launched while ago. This is our new introduction in the technology space. Average selling point for this rage is about Rs.4000.