Relaxo is one of the largest footwear manufacturers in India. Incorporated in 1984, it has its headquarters in New Delhi. With a portfolio of nine brands including Relaxo, FLITE , Sparx and Bahamas, the company operates out of nine manufacturing plants across the country, with a combined manufacturing capacity of approximately 0.7 million pairs of footwear each day. The company is primarily focused on the non-leather footwear segment. In this exclusive conversation, Gaurav Dua, Executive Director – Sales and Marketing, Relaxo Footwear talks about the organisation and its growth strategies.
Could you brief us about the company’s journey?
I joined the organisation in 2002 after completing my post-graduation. When I began my journey, Relaxo was positioned as a market leader in the slippers category. If we look at numbers, the size of company was Rs 130 crore and today we have crossed Rs 2,300 crore in revenues. Over the spell of 17 years we have grown 23 times, which is phenomenal growth. Also, we have drastically revamped our product offerings in order to stay relevant to the contemporary consumers. Our production capacity has also grown drastically, from 2 lakh per day to 7.5 lakh per day. Therefore, indeed we have come a long way.
What are the key innovations that you have introduced into the organisation?
As mentioned earlier, many product launches have happened since I joined the company. These new products were introduced based on market research to tap evolved consumers. In all these years, we have witnessed a strong shift in consumers’ perception towards this category. Also, we have seen radical change in footwear technology. Therefore, we started looking beyond our core category and started making footwear for different occasions and situations.
Over the years, many global footwear brands have forayed into the Indian market. In such a scenario, how do you ensure the competitiveness of your offerings?
Right from the start our focus has been on product innovation to stay relevant. We have products for different categories. For example, our sport shoes are divided into four categories, including casual or athleisure shoes without laces, training shoes, walking shoes and running shoes. Now we are focusing on four brands to tap all age groups – ‘Relaxo’ being the start and then ‘Bahamas’ offering printed slippers, ‘FLITE ’ catering to lightweight slippers and ‘Sparx’.
How strong is your distribution network?
We began our journey as a wholesaler and over the years many distribution channels have evolved including e-commerce, retail, wholesale and institutional sales. Today, distribution is not restricted to a single channel. Our focus is to grow all channels equally. Presently, we have more than 300 exclusive outlets spread across India. We plan to add 30 exclusive stores on a year-on-year basis. However, we will be bullish on all possible channels as far as distribution expansion is concerned. In terms of regions, we are expanding in the southern and western markets where we were not present earlier. If we talk about multi-brand outlets we are present in over 50,000 touch-points and growing.
What is your omnichannel strategy like?
We are consolidating our presence with a strong focus on recreating the experience of offline stores in the online world. As the part of our omnichannel strategy, we have integrated online with our exclusive retail stores. And since we don’t have any focus on third-party SIPs and the wholesale channel, those have not been included.
How are the consumer sentiments this festive season?
We are seeing a liquidity crunch in the market in terms of demand and payments are not that fast. Therefore, we have planned a lot of promotions, including BTL activities. We have reduced prices also. We are trying to give more offerings to induce demand.