Lacoste India plans to double the number of stores in the next four-five years in the country with focus on expanding the French lifestyle brand’s presence in metros and tier-1 cities. The company has also decided to make the brand available online with the launch of its own shopping portal.

India will be the fifth market after Korea, Japan, China and Australia where Lacoste now has its own Web site to sell its products online. Rajesh Jain, MD and CEO, Lacoste India, said: “We had intentionally slowed down expansion of new stores in 2014-15, as we wanted to see how the e-commerce channel growth pans out. But since last year, we have gone back to the aggressive growth strategy of opening seven-eight stores a year. Looking at the potential that India offers, we now want to double the number of stores to about 100 in the next four-five years.” The company currently has 49 stores, of which a significant chunk is company-owned. “We will continue to focus on growing our presence in metros and tier-1 cities. In tier-1 cities, we will focus on adding more of franchise-owned stores,” he added.

On the company’s e-commerce strategy, Jain said: “This is a significant step towards adopting an omni-channel approach for the brand. We believe online and offline channels will co-exist. We hope to reach out to consumers where we are not physically available, especially in tier-2 and -3 towns.”

Having its own Web site is the best way for Lacoste to offer its products online in India, considering the e-commerce channel is largely being driven by discount strategies, Jain said, adding that the company was also in talks with other e-commerce marketplace platforms that cater to premium brands.

“We believe the e-commerce channel will contribute about 10 per cent to our overall sales in the next one-two years,” he added. Though Jain did not give specifics about the company’s revenues in India, he said the company believes it will be able to double its turnover in the next four-five years.

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