By Vinay Umarji
Having now added Hanes and Wonderbra to its kitty, Arvind Lifestyle and Brands Limited (ABRL), part of the Ahmedabad-based textile conglomerate Arvind Limited has completed over half a dozen retail licence and domestic operations acquisition of international brands in various segments like women's wear, kids' wear, sports wear and inner wear. Yet, J Suresh, managing director and CEO of the company believes it has a long way to go. The company's focus is now to maintain its well-rounded portfolio of international brands, says Suresh in an interview with Vinay Umarji, Excerpts:
The group CMD Sanjay Lalbhai once said that Arvind is moving from being export-focused B2B company to domestic-focused B2C company. With such back-to-back acquisitions of Indian operations of various international brands in recent times, has Arvind already made that transition successfully?
It is difficult to say so. There has been a substantial change in our position. However, we are still growing. The percentage of domestic sales for both B2B and B2C segments has been growing steadily. We could be now at 55 per cent domestic, 36-37 per cent B2C and rest exports, which is still growing. There is still a long way to go.
Domestic retail has been fluctuating, especially in terms of consumerism due to market sentiments. Do you think Arvind will be able to justify the recent acquisitions?
We are taking position for future. The long term India story is still looking good. In the short run, of course, markets will move up and down.
How confident are you on the domestic market?
We are pretty confident of the domestic market. Our country's GDP is expected to grow by 7-8 per cent again by 2013-14 which should improve the market soon.
What about ur in-house brands like Flying Machine? What plans do you have for them?
Megamart and Flying Machine are doing good. We are also pushing our Arvind brand. In-house brands' growth is definitely on our cards. Every brand has got a niche and need to be catered accordingly. For instance, while Debenhams is more of a bridge to luxury meant for big towns, Arvind brand is more mass oriented meant for many more towns.
Which segments are you yet to make a foray in as far as apparel brands and retail business is concerned?
We believe we are now fairly well represented across segments. We are now in women's wear, kids' wear, sports wear and inner wear, unlike earlier when we were only in men's wear. Now the focus is to sustain and maintain this well-rounded portfolio.
How do you plan to do that?
The efforts now will be to see that all our segments grow simultaneously. For this, we are investing around Rs 130-140 crore in the coming fiscal (2013-14) for putting all our strategy around the newly acquired international brands. We expect to grow by 20 per cent this way to peg a turnover of Rs 1,800 crore for next fiscal 2013-14 for both ABRL as well as Arvind Retail Ltd. (ARL) as against the estimated Rs 1,400 crore this fiscal.