Achieving a growth of 25 to 27 per cent last year, Black Panther from the house of Juneja Global is looking forward to reach at least 30 per cent growth next year. The business development manager, Sakshi Juneja charts out the plans to reach the target. “We started as a socks manufacturing unit and went on to produce sportswear after launching Black Panther. We are now looking at expanding our product range by adding swimwear for children and shoes next year. Retail expansion too is being undertaken. We plan to add 10 more stores this financial year mainly in Tier II and Tier III cities. Out of these 10 stores, about six to seven will be franchisees,” she explains.
The product portfolio currently includes track suits, track pants, T-shirts, shorts, three-fours, gym wear, compression clothing for men. And for women it has track pants, track suits, tees, capris, shorts, skirts and sports bras. Black Panther also started a collection of track pants, track suits, shorts, three-fours, sleeveless tees, regular tees for boys between 5 to 14 years.
The brand is available in about 200 large formats like Shoppers Stop, Globus, Reliance, HyperCity and 1,500 MBOs across India. “We would like to go to the north and the Northeastern states. So in the next couple of years, we may add another 200 MBOs. We have six exclusive outlets out of which three are company-owned and three are franchisees. We also export to the UAE market under the Black Panther label. In Dubai, alone we are in 30 to 40 counters. And we have tied up with some e-commerce platforms to retail our products online,” elaborates Juneja.
Commenting on the overall knitwear industry in India, Juneja says, “People are willing to pay for denim, anything from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000, but when it comes to a T-shirt, the whole price consciousness kicks in. They feel a light, flimsy fabric is not worth the money. And the lifespan of a knitted tee is smaller compared to that of a woven product.” According to her the share of knitwear in the total apparel industry is not more than 20 per cent. “The main challenge is raw material prices. The unorganized sector can escape the excise. It’s difficult to build a brand solely on the strength of knits. Because if I have just one product, my bargaining power with the distributor weakens. But if I have, say, T-shirts and jeans, I can induce him to give me a bigger space,” she adds.