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Puma Sports plans to open first retail store in Bangalore

Written by: Staff
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Mumbai, Mar 31 (UNI) Bangalore-based Puma Sports is zeroing in on the garden city to set up its first retail store, in the second quarter of this calendar year.

''We will most probably open our first outlet in Bangalore and in the first phase of our retail expansion by end of this year, enter the big metros such as Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi,'' Puma Pvt Ltd General Manager (Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) Martin Bowen told mediapersons here today.

Puma, which had registered a global sales revenue of euros 1.7 billion last year, has recently set up a subsidiary in India to achieve greater control over its operations. In India, Puma had a contract earlier with Planet Sports for producing its footwear as an outsource manufacturer, which has now expired.

India occupies an important position in Puma's global as well as Asian worldview, Mr Bowen said, adding that the company is targeting a sales revenue of 25 per cent of its global sales or euros 875 million from the Asian region over the next few years and ''our Indian operations will essay a very critical role in this.'' Puma Sports India's aim is to establish the brand in the country, at parity with its global brand position, while simultaneously working to become well-established as no. three in the Indian market, Mr Bowen pointed out.

Asia presently contributes 12 per cent to Puma's global sales revenues.

The target customer segment in India will be the ''innovators and early adopters, essentially in the age group of 16-to-34 years,'' he said. The marketing strategy will revolve around creating ''desirability'' for Puma's sports-lifestyle products.

The customer segment being in the premium-end of the market, Puma's footwear prices will range from Rs 1,200 to Rs 6,000 while the fashion-line products will also be exclusive and higher-end, he mentioned.

Puma India's retail operations will not be restricted to only exclusive Puma outlets but will also involve tie-ups with existing wholesale partners.

''The company will co-operate with Planet Sports on retail--in fact, they will be our retail partners,'' Mr Bowen explained.

Declining to give any sales forecast, he said since the company is in the start-up mode in the country presently, the emphasis would be ''more on quality and increasing the desirability quotient for our products rather than on quantity.'' Being bullish about Puma's prospects in India, he said he expects the ''Indian market in percentage terms to grow faster than other Asian countries.'' Puma's products, planned to be launched in the Indian market include its global range in traditional performance sports in football, running and cricket while in sports-lifestyle, it includes motorsport, court, vulcanised, blue-running and its new categories of golf and moto.

Also on the anvil are products in the emerging categories of yoga, fashion and dance.

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