Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Jul 10, 2002

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Crocodile looks for bigger bite of lifestyle market

Harsha Subramaniam


THE Crocodile is on a wild run. The Coimbatore-based Crocodile Products Pvt Ltd, which owns the Crocodile brand of garments, is expanding its retail network by adding 14 more exclusive franchisee outlets (called Crocodile galleries) across the country.

Till date, the company has 51 franchisee outlets and plans to increase it to 90 outlets in the next one year. The brand is reportedly available at 2,700 multi-brand outlets across the country.

In an interview to Business Line, Mr Venkatesh Sivaraman, Managing Director, said that the brand was being extended to include categories such as ties, leather accessories, sunglasses and watches. This is a part of the company's strategy to evolve from being a garment brand to become a lifestyle brand.

Mr Sivaraman also explained that the company's focus on quality and its aggressive pricing strategy has enabled it to retain its clientele despite competition. "Over 35 per cent of our customers are repeat buyers," says Mr Sivaraman.

Established in 1998, as a joint venture between the Coimbatore-based Shivrams Associates and the Singapore-based Crocodile International, the brand entered the market in the undergarments category. Today, with three manufacturing units, the company offers a range of products such as T-shirts, shirts, trousers, jeans and socks and clocks a turnover of around Rs 18 crore (2000-01).

Mr Sivaraman said despite the economic slowdown and the entry of several new players, the company managed a 62 per cent growth in sales in the past few months (April, May and June).

"I do not know if it's a result of our marketing initiatives or that the demand has picked up. Maybe, its both," he said.

However, the biggest threat that the company faces is dealing with fake and spurious products. "There is no statutory body that enforces the laws against fakes," says Mr Sivaraman. To counter this, the company also plans to communicate its positioning of quality and reasonable pricing.

The advertising account of Crocodile is managed by Mumbai-based Madison Communications and Coimbatore-based Media Maze. The company intends to spend around Rs 3 crore on advertising this year.

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