Japanese sportswear major ASICS steps up retail expansion, local sourcing

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

Rajat Khurana, Managing Director, ASICS India

Footfalls are back to about 90% of pre-pandemic levels, says Rajat Khurana, MD

With consumer sentiment improving post the second Covid wave, Japanese sportswear brand ASICS is stepping up retail expansion and plans to open two stores per month for the rest of the year in the country. The company will end 2021 with the addition of 15 stores. It is also ramping up local sourcing from India for both footwear and apparel products to be able to offer a wider portfolio to consumers.

In the future, the Japanese major is also looking at achieving the threshold levels required for local sourcing to be able to open company-owned stores under the single brand retail policy.

Rajat Khurana, Managing Director, ASICS India and South Asia, said, “In the past six weeks, we have seen footfalls back at about 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. In some of the key cities like Delhi and Mumbai, footfalls are back to pre-pandemic levels. In Kerala and surrounding areas, there are still concerns. But we are hoping in the next 3-4 months, with the pace of vaccination getting ramped up, things will be back to normal. With heightened focus on fitness and health, we have seen a surge in the overall demand for performance footwear products.”

More stores

Khurana said the company has added six stores in the country so far this year and will add nine more by the end of the year. “In 2022, we plan to add about 17 stores. We now have a strong presence in the metros and tier-1 cities. So the majority of expansion is happening in tier-2 and tier-3 markets,” he added. Currently, the brand has about 55 stores in the country.

The brand is also available through its own site as well as other e-commerce platforms in India. “In 2019, the e-commerce channel’s share to total revenues stood at about 20 per cent and in 2020 this share increased to 35 per cent. The e-commerce channel has been growing by leaps and bounds for us. We believe, by the end of this year, this share will increase to over 40 per cent,” he explained.

Local sourcing

The company has been witnessing strong demand for not only its performance footwear products but also apparel products. “We have begun retailing made-in-India apparel range sourced from our vendors to be able to offer a wider range of apparel products. We have recently also forayed in the school shoes segment which are also locally-made. So about 18-20 per cent of our sales are now coming from locally made products.,” Khurana added.

On Thursday, ASICS, which has been associated with Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia, said it is committed to work towards strengthening its focus in the sport of wrestling , “by harnessing the power of uplifting minds of young athletes”, through its grass-root initiatives.

Published on September 09, 2021

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