Reliance Brands Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd, has brought Italian denim brand Replay to India through a master franchise agreement. The brand’s first store has opened up in Ambience mall, Gurgoan. The maiden launch will be closely followed by more stores in Delhi-NCR and Mumbai amongst others. Indianretailer.com exclusively interacted with Manu Sharma, Business Head, Reliance Brands Limited(Replay) sheds light on growth strategy of the brand. Sharma was present at the store launch.
Indian fashion market has become extremely competitive so is the denim category. What is the rationale behind foraying Indian market now?
When you use the term‘crowded’ it also means ‘relative’. The branded apparel space is growing with the pace of 15 percent CDGR and overall market of denim apparel is around 4 billion dollars.
Moreover, denim category is still less penetrated as compared to other categories of fashion. Hence, there is a room for everybody and unique product positioning will definitely create the difference.
Levi’s is the market leader in the denim category. Who do you see as your competition?
There is a homogenous difference between Levi’s and Replay mainly in terms of TG and price points. As far as my knowledge is concerned, Levi’s is now 100 per cent made in India. They operate at a very different price point from us, and they cater to very different customer from us.
If customers have a certain level of product in their minds, then they do not want to go back and buy anything lesser,and eventually every customer upgrades from the brand that they have been consuming currently. When you look at upgraded options in the denim category, there is very little to choose from.In the global world, we are positioned between Calvin Klein and G Star.
Have you introduced the complete assortment of product categories from what is available in global markets? Also, these brands are doing a lot of personalisation on the product front, such as printing the name of sold articles and others things. Is Replay initiating any such activity?
As far as assortment is concerned, this store features the same range but it is not complete due to space constraints. We might be offering fewer options but the stories are same.
In terms of personalisation,we are not doing anything for now on product side. However, I would like to highlight that denim is an art and each product is a piece of art.The amount of work that goes in making handmade hyperflex, maestro denim is a lot since it is very intricate. No two mestro denim products are same. It is already a personalised product in nature.
What are the plans to expand the brand via online channel?
We have already introduced the brand on ajio.com. However, we don’t have immediate plans to go on marketplaces such as Jabong, Myntra as I want to protect the brand from steep discounting.
We can see athleisure constitutes a small of portion of the assortment. Is that a strategic choice?
It’s the capsule collection which will be introduced in every season. This store has a one-wall display of athleisure. We are a denim brand; hence, this is not the core category for us.Though we are growing this category it as connects with the ideology of mobility and living a healthy life.
At last, do you wish to add anything in terms of growth plans of brand Replay?
We plan to open six stores by next year.As we go forward, we will continue to expand through mall locations. The new stores will be spread across anywhere 1200 sq. ft to 2200.