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Friday, Feb 06, 2004

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Liberty Shoes plans apace to add premium retail space

K.V. Kurmanath

Hyderabad , Feb. 5

LIBERTY Shoes Ltd would be adding 50,000 square feet of premium retail space every year in the next five years.

"We will have a presence in premium showrooms such as The Loft, Lifestyle, Shoppers' Stop and Pantaloon," Mr Adarsh Gupta, Executive Director, Liberty Shoes, told Business Line on Thursday.

Mr Gupta was in the city to inaugurate `The Loft', the multi-brand footwear showroom, here.

"We are tying up with a number of premium stores which offer high-end service," he said.

"Besides the hardware part, the premium stores offer `software', adding value to the product in the form of service," he said, explaining the rationale behind the move.

As part of the strategy, the company would be cutting down the retail network. This year, the number would come down to 5,000 from the present 6,000 outlets.

In the case of its exclusive showrooms, the company would have 100 `Gold' category showrooms in the next two years.

"We will have two categories of showrooms, `Silver' and `Gold'. We will upgrade some of the 350 `Bronze' outlets, the company's exclusive showrooms, into `Silver'," he said.

Discounting the fear that the brand would lose out to competition in the marketplace, he said his brand had the highest brand recall rating in the high-end and mid high-end segments.

Liberty is planning to set up a manufacturing unit in the region.

"It is likely to come up near Bangalore. If Andhra Pradesh offers a better deal, we would certainly look at it as the State would be the right location," Mr Gupta said.

In any case, the southern unit would be operational by 2005, he added.

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