Crocodile wants to bite

Crocodile wants to bite

Lacoste thinks big in India—finally.

Vikas Gupta, MD, Lacoste India: Making it big
Vikas Gupta
Size does matter in the single brand retailing sphere. After Reebok, it’s the turn of Lacoste to think big in terms of dimensions of its stores. “We have launched our largest store in Delhi at South Extension that occupies 7,000 sq. ft space and has four levels that will include a lounge in the basement,” says Vikas Gupta, MD & CEO, Lacoste India. Recently, Reebok flagged off a global-size store in Hyderabad; Bangalore has Nautica and Wrangler, which are all supposed to be benchmarks in terms of space.

“It’s important for certain lifestyle brands to offer consumers a sense of the global perspective and range. Also, it gives out cues about how ‘happening’ the brand is,” says Gupta. But it’s not just about size. Up his sleeve is a plan to pump up the volume on marketing by bringing in some global events to the country. The company is preparing to celebrate its 75th anniversary next year. “We are trying to take a call on what global events can be ushered in here as well,” he says.

To be sure, the company globally participates in The New York Fashion Week, where the Lacoste family and team participate. This fashion show is often presented in some of its bigger markets, while in some others it sponsors its team and media to go to the original event. The company claims that it needs to spread to be able to do that in India. Having completed 15 years in India , Sports and Leisure Apparel Ltd—the exclusive licensee for Lacoste India that is promoted by the Turner Morrison group—is now looking to step up its presence by investing up to Rs 10 lakh per store. The plan is to have up to seven more such stores in the next two years and 10 such outlets in three years. The company already has notched up three such flagship locations, including the Delhi store—making it all of 32 outlets in the country.

Lacoste doesn’t seem to be in a hurry. With reason. Profitable growth is clearly the mantra. “We do not have a single unprofitable store in the country now and we have just one annual sale wherein we seek to offload clothes that would be out-of-season. But we have consciously avoided the frequent sale strategy. Also, our pricing is perhaps closest to our international rates,” says Gupta. He adds that the stock on local shelves is the same as those anywhere in the world (the pricing, too, is consistent). Increased exposure of Indian consumers to foreign lands coupled with their burgeoning purchasing power might just help the French megabrand make up for lost time.