Companies

Skechers India looks to add 40-50 new stores

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on June 01, 2021

Rahul Vira, CEO, Skechers South Asia

Expects to see an uptick in sales backed by pent-up demand

As various State and local authorities look at easing restrictions for retail stores, footwear major Skechers India expects to see an uptick in sales backed by pent-up demand. The American footwear major, which has close to 300 stores in the country, said it has plans to add 40-50 new stores this year. The brand which forayed in the country in 2012, has been working towards its long-term goal of opening 500 stores in the country.

Rahul Vira, CEO, Skechers South Asia told BusinessLine, “Due to the pandemic, consumers are increasingly focusing on health. This has led to a huge movement for buying footwear for fitness and comfort in these times. We remain cautiously optimistic. Early trends seen in regions like Gujarat which have allowed operations of stores, are encouraging. We are seeing signs of pent-up demand.”

‘Lot of stores in the pipeline’

Last year, the American footwear major opened over 30 stores after the national lockdown was lifted. “We have a lot of stores in the pipeline and some of them are in fit-out stage. Our strategy has been to not only add stores in the metros and big cities, but also simultaneously open in tier-2 and tier-3 markets, and at regions that has worked well for us in terms of recovery trends,” Vira said.

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The footwear major also runs its own e-commerce site besides having a strong presence across other online platforms. “In the pandemic times, we have been focusing on multiple touchpoints to reach consumers whether it is through whatsapp video calling or through our own website. The contribution of the online channel to our sales was in single digits earlier and now it has become double digits,” he added.

Recovery trends

While the online channel has gained traction during the pandemic, retailers are hoping that as restrictions ease, consumers, who have been missing on the shopping experience, will be back at stores fuelling the recovery trends.

The footwear brand is gradually expanding its presence in apparel and accessories segment mirroring its global portfolio. “In footwear too, our range of products will be expanded further. The sneaker trend in the country has gained lots of traction recently. At the same time the pandemic has opened up new opportunities such as safety footwear for us,” Vira said.

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The company said it will be banking on learnings from the past year to swiftly restart operations in line with various government protocols. “Safety of our employees and consumers remains the top priority. One of our key tasks right now, has been getting our staff and their family members vaccinated and we are working on facilitating this process,” Vira added.

Published on June 01, 2021

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