Do­mes­tic brands pad up as Patan­jali for­ays into ap­par­els

Ex­perts say Ramdev co-founded com­pany could first tar­get close com­peti­tors to suc­ceed the way it did in FMCG sec­tor

Business Standard - - COMPANIES - VIVEAT SU­SAN PINTO Mum­bai, 9 No­vem­ber

At ~500 for jeans and T-shirts, Patan­jali’s foray into ap­par­els may land up hit­ting do­mes­tic play­ers more than for­eign brands, top re­tail ex­perts and ap­parel in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tives have said.

On Mon­day, the Ramdev co­founded com­pany launched a swadeshi ap­parel store called Patan­jali Parid­han in New Delhi, say­ing it would sell men’s, women's and chil­dren’s wear un­der the Liv­e­fit, Aastha and San­skar brands, tar­get­ing a turnover of ~10 bil­lion and a foot­print of at least 200 stores in two years.

“The ap­par­els seg­ment is not an easy busi­ness to crack,” said Arvind Sing­hal, chair­man, Technopak, a re­tail con­sul­tancy based in Gu­ru­gram. “The ones who could be hit the most (due to Patan­jali's foray) are the do­mes­tic play­ers, since they are avail­able in the af­ford­able range. The for­eign brands ride on as­pi­ra­tion and are premium-priced. They may not be af­fected now.”

Some of the coun­try’s top value fash­ion re­tail­ers in­clude V-Mart, Max Fash­ion (from the Dubai-based Land­mark Group), and Fu­ture Group (value for­mat is called FBB). Max Fash­ion was not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment. Lalit Agar­wal, chair­man and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at V-Mart Re­tail, is watch­ing Patan­jali's foray closely. "Com­pe­ti­tion is al­ways wel­come and I wish him (Ramdev) all the best for the launch of his store. Though In­dian play­ers are ac­tive in the af­ford­able ap­parel space, it would be in­ter­est­ing to see how he ex­pands the busi­ness and whether he drives down prices fur­ther. That could dis­rupt the mar­ket," Agar­wal says.

Kishore Biyani, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Fu­ture Group, says there is room for more play­ers within value fash­ion. "The mar­ket can cer­tainly ac­com­mo­date more brands and we don't see a threat to our busi­ness with the en­try of a new player,” he says. “Yes, all eyes will be on what he does. But, he has only just made a start. We would need to give it some time be­fore he ex­pands it.”

Ramdev has an­nounced a 25 per cent dis­count on all items re­tail­ing at his store dur­ing the Di­wali week and says he would con­tinue to grow his range of prod­ucts. The New Delhi store stocks nearly 3,000 items across den­ims and ca­sual wear, eth­nic and for­mals as well as ac­ces­sories such as chap­pals, shoes, bags, and jewelry.

In many re­spects, say re­tail ex­perts, Ramdev would be tak­ing a leaf out of the mar­ket­ing man­ual he used in the fast­mov­ing con­sumer goods, where Patan­jali tasted quick suc­cess thanks to the bold bets he took. Though the pace of growth (in terms of top line) within con­sumer goods for Patan­jali has come down in the last year — it stood at 12 per cent in 2017-18 ver­sus 100 per cent seen in 2016-17 — com­pa­nies that were ini­tially im­pacted by its ac­tions were Dabur and Emami, who op­er­ate in the ayurveda space.

Col­gate and Hin­dus­tan Unilever were sub­se­quent tar­gets as the nat­u­rals trend be­gan gain­ing ground, sec­tor ex­perts said.

Com­pany says it will sell men's, women's and chil­dren's wear un­der the Liv­e­fit, Aastha, and San­skar brands, tar­get­ing a turnover of ~10 bil­lion and a foot­print of at least 200 stores in two years


Ramdev at the launch of Patan­jali Parid­han store in New Delhi ear­lier this week

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