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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Late entrant Puma looks to catch up with competition

Rachit Vats, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 23, 2013
First Published: 21:12 IST(23/4/2013) | Last Updated: 23:05 IST(23/4/2013)

Sports apparel and shoe maker entrant Puma, which has hitherto focused on lifestyle-oriented products in India, is looking to step up its presence in the specialised sportswear market.

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The Rs. 4,000-crore Indian sportswear market (including shoes, apparel and accessories) is dominated by Adidas, Reebok and Nike. Adidas and Reebok together control about 70% of the market share and have worked up strong brand loyalty, according to market analysts.

Puma currently holds about 13% market share.

However, Reebok has been struggling of late with a management scandal that has affected the twin companies' financials, and Puma is hoping to cash in on the opportunity.

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"While we have been leading in the lifestyle and fashion segment, it is now time to scale up in other areas and get in the game," said Rajiv Mehta, MD, Puma India.

Puma entered India in 2002, about seven years behind Nike, Reebok and Adidas. In its initial years, the German brand focused on lifestyle products to create a distinct identity.

"We do have a presence in the performance segment, going forward there will be more focus in this space, even as we strengthen our lifestyle products," Mehta said. Puma has strong presence in soccer, athletics and Formula 1 racing.

Puma ended 2012 with Rs. 500 crore in revenues. It is aiming for a 30% year-on-year growth over the next five years, and plans to add 100 stores to its existing 270 by 2015.

"We are not going for rapid expansion. The timing and the opportunity is just right for us to bag the top spot," said Mehta.

The strategy is seen as sound. "Adidas and Reebok entrenched themselves early in India," said Harkirat Singh, managing director, Woodland India. "By doing so they have created a market here. For latecomer brands, Puma for instance, it becomes easier to judge the market. Puma will benefit from not making the same mistakes."


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