We will be having 25 stores pan India by end of the financial year: Rahul Jhamb

In an exclusive conversation with indianretailer.com Rahul Jhamb, Business Head, FOREVER 21(India) sheds light on the growth strategy of the brand in Indian market.
We will be having 24-25 stores pan India by end of the financial year: Rahul Jhamb

What are the plans to increase the store count for FOREVER 21? Also, how you would sum up the journey of the brand so far?

This is second year when the brand is with ABFRL; though, the brand is present in India since last seven years. Presently, our store count stands at 19, and by the end of this financial year we would be having 24-25 stores pan India. In fact, we have recently opened a store in Pune and Bangaluru and very shortly we would be opening at Kolkata. The brand is there in international market since 1984 with huge aspirations across the globe. It is indeed a very strong collaboration for us.

What would be the new locations for the upcoming stores? What are the plans for tier 2 markets? Also, going forward the brand will continue to focus on large format stores?

Currently, we are largely present in metros and mini metros. Yes, we are keen to expand in tier 2 market as well, in fact, we are about to launch a store in Ahmadabad. The store size will depend upon catchment of that area. Our average size is about 8000-10,000 sq.ft.

What would be pricing strategy as the brand will go forward?

FOREVER21 is known for bringing affordable fashion to customers. Even if you look at international market such as US, there the brand has dresses starting from ten dollars going up to 50 dollars. And, we primarily operate in same range in terms of Indian rupees. Also, in terms of pricing we are no different. Even here in India, we will not alter the price regardless the location. Though, we might alter categories or sub categories to make the brand more relevant to particular catchment. If the catchment demands more of entry level price points so we will keep that in mind.  

If we talk about fast fashion market in India, it has become very crowded with entries such as H&M, GAP and many more. How do you see your positioning in this competitive market? Also, who do you see as your competition?

Currently, the market is not too crowded because we are in the segment of western women’s wear fast fashion and that is not too crowded. There is handful of good players operating in this segment. And, every brand has its unique space in this fast fashion market. For example, if you look at ZARA or H&M they have their own target customers. They talk to particular age profile, certain fashion types which relates very well with them. I think everyone has got their segment very nicely crave out in the market.

Globally, FOREVER 21 is largely catered towards young girls; even in India the brand is extremely popular among girls. Going forward the brand’s TG will remain same or you would be doing some customization to make the brand resonate with all age groups? Also, shed light your best performing categories? Any plans to expand the existing categories?

We do not operate only in girls’ segment, we have offering for girls as well as boys. But, I would agree that the brand is better accepted among young girls. But as far as customatization is concerned for Indian market that is not the brand philosophy is because we firmly believe that fast fashion brand is something which is following global trends in fashion. Global trends are universal and not specific to any particular market. And, we will continue to focus on youth segment.

As far as, product assortment is concerned we have 'N' number of categories because it is a fast fashion brand so we keep on adding from time and again; however core categories remain the same. In terms of best performing categories, I cannot name one as there are multiple categories, for example, women dresses, knitted top and demines are amongst the few top sellers. However, one thing that truly stands out is accessories part of it because whatever apparels are being bought from FOREVER 21 it is never complete without styling enough. Accessory is certainly a very big category.

Regarding to category expansion, we do not introduce anything new since we are franchise partner of FOREVER21 in India. Global fashion is something which is designed and forecasted by the head quarters in US and all international market follow those trends. We do not have anything which is exclusively made for India.

Despite having its own exclusive web store FOREVER 21 is also retailed via all leading market places with latest inclusion Amazon.in. Marketplaces are known for steep discounting in India. How do you control discounts over there? What is your strategy to ensure price parity acoss the channels?

Online is the growing business for us. We already have FORVER21.com which is very successful in India. Customers these days shop from different platforms. And, all leading market places have their huge set of customer base already as they are just not restricted to a single category. Our presence on marketplaces lets us leverage from their consumer base.

As far as discounts are concerned, we have a very clear strategy, we do not any discount except the specific occasions such as end of season sale. Our discounts are universal across the platforms. We do not offer any extra discount to any channel.









Rahul Jhamb