From inventing the first ever men’s brief in 1934, to developing underwear for astronauts of NASA’s Apollo Mission in 1962, or setting benchmarks in the innerwear category with groundbreaking advertising, Jockey continues to define the industry. Gaining popularity though the distribution network in India, the brand is now focusing on brand outlets and enhancing brand experience for the customer.
Jockey, as a brand plays a very important role in the daily life of millions and probably the most popular inner wear label in India and across the globe. Founded in 1876, Jockey has a rich history as one of the apparel industry’s original pioneers and innovators. Jockey International made its entry into India in 1995 through an exclusive license agreement with Page Industries Ltd as known today. Today, Jockey is available in more than 370 EBOs and distributed in over 50,000 multi-brand outlets across 1400 cities and towns in India.
VM&RD caught up with M.C. Cariappa, President - Sales & Marketing, Jockey India who shares the brand’s aggressive retail expansion plan and how Jockey is constantly upgrading itself to stay relevant to the new-age shopper.
Tell us about your retail expansion strategy for this year.
When it comes to EBOs, we work on franchise owned and operated model. We do not open store blindly, however we do have a target to arrive at this year. We should be ending at 450 store by March 31, 2018. Jockey India was developed through the distribution channel, and the strength
lies in the distribution. About 92% of our business is through the distribution model, and EBOs buy from distributers for the simple reason that he needs supply every day.
How important is an exclusive brand outlet for a brand like Jockey. What are your plans for this format?
EBO is a very important channel for us, which started with our first outlet of 400 sq ft that was opened in Commercial Street, Bangalore. At present, our 375 EBOs contribute to 15% of our revenues. The range of Jockey cannot be fully showcased in MBO or LFS, hence EBO gives different shopping experience and the customer is actually introduced to other categories like lounge wear, towels, socks, etc. We will continue to expand depending on the catchment areas. Most of my EBOs are requesting more franchisee outlets, but we insist that it must make sense to the franchise owner and Jockey itself in terms of ROI. We have aspirations of revenue from EBOs crossing 25-30% of the company’s turnover. The dream is 1000 EBOs by 2020.
How does Jockey as a brand standout in large format store and how well has this format worked out for the brand? Large Format Stores bring 4% of the turnover, from stores like Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Central, Reliance and the others. So with these retailers we get 40% of the space in the category. The biggest win for Jockey is that we have a very high PSFPD (per sq ft per day rate), where some stores we have hit Rs 130 and on an average it is Rs 60.
Now we are being looked at as a lifestyle innerwear brand, so in Central we rolled out the shop-in-shop concept. Others are coming forward, as they see higher returns.
Tell us how Jockey India has upgraded its retail experience across formats to capture new-age shoppers.
Retail has never been our forte, as we have sold through distributors, but now we have visual merchandisers in each zone and retail planning across EBOs, MBOs and LFS. About 50% of our marketing budget goes towards enhancing store experience, instore marketing, etc. as the point of truth is at the retail point. Going forward, you will see Jockey in a new look and feel in the next 6 months.
Another point is that marketing or advertising women in innerwear category is a big challenge in ATL like hoardings, where we have had to literally pull down some and received objection through letters from socalled activists. So in-store is the only space we can communicate effectively.
There has been a transition in VM and store experience, we will soon have digital catalogues from where consumers get full product info and it also help us update the sales staff on the merchandise communication.
What new categories are you focusing on?
We have extended our offering to add towels, socks, lounge wear and kids. The idea for Kids range was born from the need that when women shop for themselves, they can even buy the necessary products for their kids too. Another breakthrough is the outerwear range, which is a very big focus category for us since past two years. About 28% of revenues come from this category. •
M.C. Cariappa, President - Sales & Marketing, Jockey India
Jockey recently celebrated 141 years of legacy with an interesting pop-up museum in Bangalore