Footwear brand Liberty Shoes aims to find firm footing in northern, central markets

Shobha Roy Kolkata | Updated on March 25, 2020


Liberty Shoes is looking to establish a firm footing in the tier-II and tier-III towns of northern and central Indian markets, where it is among one of the most dominant players. Plans are afoot to expand its store count in these towns and launch more value and everyday fashion kind of products.

Anupam Bansal, Director-Retail, Liberty Shoes, said that the company aims to add 50-100 stores every year, primarily in the tier-II and tier-III towns.

“Our focus is more on Hindi-speaking belt because we would like to strengthen our core market before expanding into newer cities. While we are also present in East, West and South but we do not want to spread ourselves too thin so that we have negligible market share in these markets,” Bansal told BusinessLine.

The footwear market in India is estimated to be around ₹40,000 crore with an average consumption of around 1.6-1.8 pairs per person. Nearly 80 per cent of the market (approximately ₹32,000 crore) is unorganised and the organised market accounts for only around 20 per cent. Liberty Shoes claims to hold around 10-12 per cent of the market primarily in the mass premium and premium segment.

While the footwear industry has been growing at around 8-10 per cent, Liberty has been able to clock a growth of around 10-12 per cent. The company, which registered a turnover of ₹600 crore in FY19, is expecting to close FY20 at close to ₹700 crore.

“While the growth in the first half of this fiscal was lower at around 8-10 per cent, however, the festive months of November and December were quite good and we were clocking close to 20 per cent growth in the second half,” he said.

The company has been witnessing good growth coming in from the comfort footwear segment under its brand Healers as people are becoming increasingly conscious of the need for comfortable footwear. It is also witnessing a good growth in the sports category and the kids segment.

Covid-19 impact

While Liberty Shoes was having a positive outlook on growth and expansion plans for the coming fiscal, however, it is now adopting a “wait and watch” approach in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Footwear purchase, which is more of discretionary spend, could get impacted on the back of poor sentiments particularly when travel plans are getting curtailed and celebrations are getting cancelled.

However, on a positive note, it could be an opportunity for India to reduce its dependence on China in terms of imports and focus on domestic manufacturing.

Published on March 25, 2020

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