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Asics India confident about Indian market

While it has only 20 outlets, Asics India says it sees “huge scope for growth”.

Known for celebrity users like Bruce Lee and Barack Obama, the Japanese sports brand has a focus on targeting India’s upwardly mobile middle class as it looks to put more effort into staying healthy.

Asics plans to open at least 12 stores every year across top Indian cities over the next three years. It will also add six more by end of this year to its current 20 outlets, says Asics India MD Rajat Khurana.

As well as these brand stores, opening in partnership with local associates, the shoes are available in about 300 multi-brand stores and a few online marketplaces, accounting for about 20 per cent of sales.

Khurana says the company had 70 per cent sales growth in India over the past two years. This comes at a time when Asics has had a 6.86 per cent decline in global sales revenue to ¥399.11 billion (US$3.5 billion) last year as sales fell 2.6 per cent in its home market, while Europe, the Middle East and Africa together registered a decline of 12.9 per cent.

The company’s sales grew across the Oceania, Southeast and South Asia by around 11.3 per cent, while sales in the East Asian region grew by 13.1 per cent last year.

As well as its flagship brand, Asics is planning to open outlets for its lifestyle brand Onitsuka Tiger later this year.

Asics markets its footwear as running shoes and has associated itself with running events in India, including the Mumbai Marathon. “Running will remain a focus,” says Khurana, “but we have been sponsoring other sports events like tennis and cricket in India.”

It is a late entrant in a market dominated by such sports brands as Adidas, Nike, Puma and Reebok. New Balance Athletic Shoes opened its first brand store in India last year.

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