British clothing brand Superdry is betting big on India, its first entry in any BRIC market, and expects to make it one of its most successful with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Brands as its local partner. The London Stock Exchange listed-Supergroup, which owns the brand worn by celebrities like David Beckham, Justin Bieber, Kristen Stewart, Ben Stiller, among others, will open 20 stores in the first five years of being in India, James Holder, founder of Superdry told TOI in an exclusive chat. Hollister, by American retailer major Abercrombie & Fitch competes globally with Superdry. Inspired by vintage styling and Japanese graphics, the brand has been growing aggressively internationally with presence across mainland Europe, US and some parts of the Middle East.
“We have come to India before China, Brazil and Russia because of the cultural fit that this market offers to us. We have signed the longest agreement with any partner so far here in India which shows our commitment to this market,” Holder said. Superdry is still evaluating an entry into China, a country which is usually the first point of entry for global brands to the emerging markets. Reliance Brands, which retails an array of international labels including Ermenegildo Zegna, Diesel, Quiksilver, Kenneth Cole and Brooks Brothers among several others, has signed a 20-year licensing deal with the British fashion brand. Reliance Brands, a subsidiary of Reliance Retail, will open seven stores for the brand over the next six month and plans to establish presence even in tier two cities.
Superdry has 82 stores in the UK, 88 stores across mainland Europe, and 58 flagship stores in the rest of the world. The UK market brings in as much as 60% revenue for the ten-year old brand. “Over the years the clothing market for Indian youth has been largely about denims but things are changing now. Superdry does not really compete with anyone at the moment, the idea is to build a connect with the youth through various events, social media etc,” said Darshan Mehta, chief executive of Reliance Brands. Operating at the Rs 3,000- 8000 price point it will compete with the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein on the pricing front. Mehta said existing brands in the group’s portfolio such as Quiksilver and Roxy, which fall in the outdoor sports lifestyle category, will not directly compete with Superdry instead will help grow the market. Although, Superdry has its core market across the 15-25 year olds, it is popular between the ages 30-45 among both men and women, Holder said . Recently, Sanjay Lalbhai-led Arvind Ltd brought in the $1.5 billion Australian surfwear brand Billabong to India in order to cash in on the youth fashion segment.