French lifestyle brand Lacoste, known for its ‘crocodile’ logo polo T-shirts, has said that after a short period of lull, the company plans to again go for a major expansion in this country. It will be doubling its 50 point-of-sales (PoS) by 2021.
The latter comprise online sales on the company’s portal, exclusive boutiques in malls and high streets, and shop-in-shops with demarcated areas. The target this year is 15-20 per cent growth over last year.
“Barring the brief period of the past one and a half to two years, our growth has been very high in India,” said Rajesh Jain, managing director, Lacoste India. The company has products available in eight categories, apparel being the largest (the men's Polo range accounts for a little more than half of Indian sales). The brand also sells footwear, perfume, watches, sunglasses, leather goods and home linen, among others.
Jain told Business Standard that they'd be targeting more premium malls and would add around eight new PoS by end-year. “Offline, we follow a selective distribution network. Every new PoS is carefully selected, as we are bottomline (profit)-conscious. In a year, if we open 8-10 new doors or PoS, it is considered an aggressive expansion for a brand like ours. We are again on expansion mode; last year, we opened seven new PoS,” he said.
The company is focusing more on malls, as trends show customers preferring a one-stop shop environment for all retail and entertainment needs.
In June, it launched an online store, www.lacoste.in, catering to a wider consumer base in tier-I and tier-II cities where the company is not physically present.
The company said online sales during the first two months had been good ("we achieved what were expecting to happen six months from now") but could not be taken as a benchmark, as this coincided with its end-of-season sale.
Jain added there was no other online presence and all products with the Lacoste brand name on other online marketplaces were either fakes or sold in an unauthorised manner. “We are not selling through any other online channel, though we are in talks with two premium websites in the country,” he said.
He added the deep discounting done by a number of marketplaces completely destroys brand value. “We do not gun only for sales, as it dilutes the brand. Brand image is most important to us and that is why we have gone online on our own.”