Benetton India plans to step up presence in footwear and innerwear segments

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on February 09, 2021

Sundeep Chugh, CEO & MD, Benetton India

CEO expresses optimism for growth; brand to add 30-40 new stores

After the apparel segment witnessed a challenging year due to the pandemic, Benetton India is banking on stronger recovery trends in urban regions to get its business back to pre-Covid levels. The global brand is also gearing up to strengthen its presence in the fashion footwear and inner-wear segments in the next three years in the country.

Sundeep Chugh, CEO and MD, Benetton India said: “With the government’s focus on steering India towards the growth path and the vaccines coming in, this year we will look to returning 2019 levels of business performance. In the festival season, we saw business recovering by nearly 80-85 per cent compared with the corresponding period in the previous year.”

Recovery trends

For consumer product companies across segments, recovery trends have been stronger in smaller towns and cities compared with tier-1 and urban markets in the past few months. But Chugh pointed out that sales rebound in urban markets is also now visible.

“Since January, we are seeing a rebound in business in tier-1 markets and metros, too. We believe by February-end or early March, walk-ins in stores in these regions will be at par with tier-2 and tier-3 markets as consumers gain more confidence to move out and shop,” Chugh added.

In the next three years, Chugh said the company expects the footwear and innerwear segments to contribute nearly 15-20 per cent of its overall business.

“The footwear line has been completely developed in India and nearly 90 per cent of the business is driven from the online channel currently. We see a huge scope for growth from the fashion footwear perspective and we are ramping up the presence of this product portfolio at our stores. Even in the innerwear segment, we are seeing good growth,” Chugh said.

Going digital

The Italian fashion major is also looking to add 30-40 new stores this year. At the same time, with accelerated adoption of digital platforms for purchases, especially during the pandemic, it is also looking to launch its online store in the second half of the year.

“In a heterogeneous market like India, the consumer-buying pattern traverses through all the channels and so we will continue to focus on expanding our presence across all the channels. The e-commerce channel is growing at a high double-digit CAGR due to low penetration and so we will also continue to leverage on this opportunity in the right manner. For us, e-commerce currently contributes about 21 per cent to our overall sales,” he added.

Earlier this month, the government announced plans to set up seven textile parks in the country in the next three years to position India as a fully integrated manufacturing and exporting hub. Chugh said this was a step in the right direction and will enable the country in strengthening its presence in the global supply chain. Nearly 90-95 per cent of production of Benetton India is done domestically and the Italian major also sources products from India for its global supply chain.

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Published on February 09, 2021
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