RE­TAIL TALK

Mridumesh Ku­mar Rai, Sa­mar Lifestyle

VMRD - - Contents - Satarupa Chakraborty

From bring­ing the 126-year brand le­gacy of Flor­sheim to In­dia, to cre­at­ing a strong brand res­o­nance with in-house footwear brand Ru­osh, from cre­at­ing a strong bridge-to-lux­ury brand port­fo­lio with Ital­ian Moschino, to tar­get­ing new cat­e­gories, Sa­mar Lifestyle has been ac­tive on many fronts re­cently. VM&RD chats up with Mridumesh Ku­mar Rai, Pres­i­dent, Sa­mar Lifestyle, to know more about the com­pany’s ap­proach to the re­tail char­ac­ter of each brand.

Let’s be­gin with Flor­sheim. The In­dia mar­ket be­came al­most re­dun­dant for the brand. But you not only de­cided to bring it back, but are also eye­ing more than Rs 300 crore turnover for it. Can you tell us about the planned re­tail channels for Flor­sheim?

Flor­sheim is one of those few brands that are suc­cess­ful in both the North­ern and South­ern hemi­spheres with a ro­bust pres­ence in four con­ti­nents – Amer­ica, South Amer­ica, Aus­tralia and Europe. The brand also brings a strong le­gacy of crafts­man­ship of over 126 years. We have re­cently opened an ex­clu­sive out­let for Flor­sheim in Chen­nai and we plan to open two more doors at Am­bi­ence Mall, Gur­gaon and one in Ban­ga­lore. How­ever, let me tell you that our ex­pan­sion will not be EBO­driven. We will scale our re­tail ex­pan­sion much faster in the MBO for­mats. Right now, our MBO pres­ence counts 125 and we plan to make it 200 in less than a year.

Can you elab­o­rate on the im­por­tance of MBO as a pre­ferred re­tail chan­nel?

Our strong back­ground in the footwear busi­ness has taught us that this cat­e­gory de­mands brand build­ing from EBO, while the real busi­ness scal­ing hap­pens via MBO and LFS channels. Our group started with the footwear man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness long back and we had about seven top-sell­ing global brands as our client. It was in 2011 that we started our own footwear brand, Ru­osh. Ru­osh was also our en­try point in re­tail. With Ru­osh, we re­al­ized that while EBO was ex­cel­lent for brand po­si­tion­ing, we were able to ex­pand much faster through MBO and LFS channels. The lat­ter channels also con­trib­uted to our busi­ness im­mensely.

We re­mem­ber that Ru­osh’s brand po­si­tion­ing was very spe­cific and strong. Now, af­ter 7 years or so in the busi­ness, how are you plan­ning to in­no­vate with Ru­osh in terms of the look-and-feel of the brand and re­tail de­sign? When we launched Ru­osh we adopted the store de­sign of a Cigar Club, the kind which res­onates with the brand’s rich Euro­pean per­sona. Over years, we have broad­ened the cat­e­gory, in­clud­ing women as our cus­tomers and en­tered into the ca­sual footwear seg­ment. There­fore, it’s cru­cial for us to take these mes­sag­ing for­ward. Very soon, we are go­ing to launch our third re­tail de­sign iden­tity, which will bal­ance our brand char­ac­ter and the com­mer­cial propo­si­tion. The new ID will al­low more flex­i­bil­ity across cat­e­gories and the VM pos­si­bil­i­ties will also be spelled out much more clearly be­cause there are many more prod­uct sto­ries to be told.

Are you ex­pand­ing your in-house brand port­fo­lio?

Yes, as we are quite present in the lux­ury, bridge-to-lux­ury and premium seg­ments. We also cre­ated a brand that falls in the mass premium seg­ment. We call it At­tileo. This brand is rel­a­tively new and we are bank­ing on mass dis­tri­bu­tion and SIS con­cept to pro­mote it.

You brought one of the noted Ital­ian bridge-to-lux­ury brands, Moschino. We can clearly see your in­cli­na­tion to­wards footwear and ac­ces­sories. Could you talk about the ex­pan­sion plan for Moschino and your over­all in­ter­na­tional brand port­fo­lio?

Love Moschino has two stores as of now, one in Mum­bai and the other in Delhi. We will soon open one more door in Am­bi­ence Mall, Gur­gaon. With Moschino, we are ad­ding mul­ti­ple cat­e­gories within stores. We have al­ready added footwear and we will soon add ready-to-wear and ac­ces­sories cat­e­gories.

Yes, we are in­ter­ested in footwear and ac­ces­sories and we are in talks with two em­i­nent in­ter­na­tional brands for men’s ca­sual footwear and women’s footwear re­spec­tively. We see footwear and ac­ces­sories to be the new growth en­gine cat­e­gories in lifestyle re­tail. Also, our strength has been footwear, there­fore, the in­ter­est is deep-rooted.

Love Moschino

Flor­sheim

Mridumesh Ku­mar Rai Pres­i­dent, Sa­mar Lifestyle

Flor­sheim

Ru­osh

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