Kindly shed light on the international footprint of the brand West Coast?
We are currently selling in 70 countries. We do not retail directly in these markets; primarily, we operate via JV with local retailers (MBOs) and distributors.
Kindly shed light on your Indian partner? Also what is the rationale behind foraying the Indian market now when premium footwear market is already flooded?
We have partnered with Metmill, a Mumbai based footwear retailer to expand our footprint in Indian market. Metmill operates via shop-in-shop (Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Mochi, etc.) and wholesale model. They also have their private label called Lemon and Pepper. Metmill is also the largest distributor for Crocs in India. Moreover, leading footwear chain Metro Shoes is one of their investors. Presently, Metmill is present at over 102 point of sale.
I do agree that there is so much competition in Indian market but there is no brand with casual DNA like ours. Based upon our research that we did before coming here, there was absolutely void for good quality casual shoes that’s why we find the opportunity very exciting and have explored the Indian market now.
What kind of distribution the brand will have in Indian market? Since it is premium international brand, are you also mulling over opening your exclusive outlets with local partner?
Currently, we do not plan to open any exclusive outlet. West Coast will have the same touch points that Metmill has today.
Brand is comparatively new to Indian consumers. What would your strategies to build the brand in this market?
We are premium brand with affordable price tag. Our average price point is between Rs. 4500- Rs.5000. There is no other brand which is offering actual premium leather shoes with such price tag. Our unique price point is our USP.
So all the ranges from international markets have been introduced to Indian market? Or first you wish to test the water with your best selling lines?
We had launched 36 options during our soft launch which happened during end of May this year. And, we plan to launch 16 more options by the end of September. So the consumer will be presented with good assortment. Our collection includes shoes, sandals, sneakers, and boots. We want the consumer to get the good feel of entire collection. Internationally, 'sneakers' is our best performing category.
Any plans to venture women’s line?
The parent company of West Coast has one more brand called 'Cravo Canela' which is mainly retails women’ shoes and accessories. We may launch Cravo Canela in the time to come but no such plans as of now.
So who do you see as your competition in Indian footwear space?
Aldo could be our competition but we are way lower priced than them. Yet another competitor could be 'Woodland' but again it would be customers’ prerogative to decide whether outdoor style or casual style.
What kind of business the company is expecting in Indian market?
We aim to make Westcost 150 cr brand over next three years.
Any comment on online presence of the brand?
Yes, the brand will be available on our exclusive webstore as well as leading market places.