Vivek Kalra, Amante (MAS Holdings Pvt. Ltd.)
Targeting top 8-10 consumption clusters to be part of its expansion story in India, leading lingerie brand Amante is working towards strengthening its brand’s positioning by opening more EBOs.
As shopping for lingerie among Indian women has changed from secret shopping trips to neighbourhood innerwear stores to experiential purchase, lingerie retail has seen much of a shift. Today, intimate wear stores share space comfortably along with high street brands. While some of the leading lingerie brands of the world are making their debut in India, we have seen some Indian brands to move from only-online to offline channels and a few have taken it a notch higher by creating brand stories through EBOs. VM&RD speaks to Vivek Kalra, CEO, Amante (MAS Holdings Pvt Ltd), who shares the brand’s perspective of brick-and-mortar retail and expansion plans. Excerpts.
When the key merchandise is all about perfect fit, what kind of experiential retail does Amante brings on plate?
You have to understand as much as brick-and-mortar retail works for lingerie as a category, it’s been a hush-hush affair until recently. Though we were present through 1200 MBOs and 200+ departmental stores, we are happy that we have successfully been part of the makeshift. Deciding to go deep in experiential design, we
made sure that all our EBOs wore complete international look in terms of design and experiences. Starting from our first EBO in Sri Lanka in 2013, we have 7 EBOs today in India. Going forward, we plan to open 15-20 stores by end of this year while we want to take our store count to 100 over next 5 years.
Non metros are recently witnessing a boom in brick-and-mortar retail. How is Amante taking part in it?
Yes, it’s true but high-end or experiential retail shopping has just arrived in India. Hence, when it comes to retail expansion through EBOs, top 8-10 consumption clusters are in our mind. We would like to start from expanding in cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Pune and Hyderabad with 2-5 stores in each city. However, we are also looking at cities like Lucknow, Jaipur, Coimbatore, Indore etc.
Do you think that only malls work as effective hosts for lingerie stores?
Yes, primarily we are looking at only malls that have premium footfall. However, going by footfall again, some cities have popular market areas that will justify our presence.
As a group, what is the latest development at MAS Holdings in terms of product line development?
We are a 1.8 billion, 30 years old intimate wear brand based in Sri Lanka. We have made various brands famous in different countries. As we are known for Amante in India, we have Ultimo in the UK and Phins in the US. As we go along, we plan to bring these portfolio brands to India
Vivek Kalra, CEO, Amante (MAS Holdings Pvt Ltd)