Pooja Ahuja Nagpal
Sep 28, 2012

Arvind Lifestyle increases play with Debenhams, Next and Nautica

Q&A with J Suresh, managing director and chief executive officer

Arvind Lifestyle increases play with Debenhams, Next and Nautica

Arvind Lifestyle Brands, a subsidiary of Arvind Limited, has acquired the business operations (franchisee rights) of Debenhams, Next and Nautica from Planet Retail. Through the move, it has added womens wear and kidswear to its current portfolio that is dominated by menswear.

The company has in its portfolio 12 brands including Flying Machine, Newport University, Colt, Ruff Tuff and Excalibur, besides licensing relationships with international brands including Gant, Arrow, Izod, Energie, US Polo Association, Elle, Cherokee and Geoffrey Beene. It also runs value retail chain Megamart, and has a 50 per cent stake in the Tommy Hilfiger business in India.

Acquisition of Debenhams signals Arvind’s entry into the ‘bridge to luxury department store’ segment. Arvind plans to increase the number of stores in India from two to eight in the next three years. With the relaunch of Next, the company will enter the segment of apparel speciality retail, and it plans to increase the number of Next stores from three to 12 in the next three years. The agreement with Nautica will strengthen Arvind’s position in the casual and sportswear segment. While Arvind is the India licensee for only sportwear from Nautica, it will buy other products like perfumes and watches from other licensees to sell at Nautica stores.

Prior to the development, Arvind Lifestyle claims to have a distribution network encompassing over 1.3 million square feet of retail space across 730 stores in over 150 towns. The company aims to increase revenue from brands and retail from Rs 1600 crore to Rs 5000 crore in the next five years.

Campaign India caught up with J Suresh (JS), managing director and chief executive officer, Arvind Lifestyle Brands Ltd to find out more on the marketing plans post this development on the new brands.



Campaign India (CI): These three brands were already present in India for some time. What will be the marketing strategies implemented by Arvind to push these brands?

JS: These three brands are image-driven brands, so if they are to do well we have to set a certain imagery for them. They are not price-driven brands. So what will really drive the marketing for these brands is building specialised customer relationships like loyalty programmes. We will not get in to mass media advertising for the simple reason that there will not be enough points of distribution. With mass media advertising, we will reach a large number of consumers but will not have enough points of distribution. Hence, we will have a localised kind of advertising, which will be driven by little bit of press to announce the availability of the formats. We would also like to create certain events. Primarily we plan to carry out more below the line (BTL) advertising and not so much of mass media advertising.

CI: What challenges do you foresee while promoting these brands? 

JS: These brands have been in the market for the last four to five years. Therefore, we have to make a few changes. These are big brands; internationally they are doing exceedingly well, so we really have to get up to speed to bring them back to the international level. And doing this initially will be a bit difficult because of the baggage these brands have.

CI: What would be the TG for these brands?

JS: We already have a very strong menswear portfolio and Debenhams and Next have got a fantastic womens wear and kids wear portfolio. Our target would be women in the age group of 25 to 45 years, upper middle class and largely staying in metros and tier one towns. But for Nautica, we look at men in the age group of 25 to 35 years , upwardly mobile and in the upper middle class bracket; someone who has reached the managerial position.

CI: What are your learnings from the marketing strategies you have implemented for other brands that could apply on the new brands?

JS: For Nautica, we will carry forward what we normally do for our other brands. There will be a small mass media campaign. For e.g. in the case of US Polo we associate with some big activities like Oscars, IPL etc. Similarly, we need to take some events, which are relevant from Nautica's point of view such as yachting or boat racing. So in the future, we will be associating with such events to drive the brand equity.

Campaign India

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