GAS steps on the retail expansion engine in India

Thursday, 10 May 2012
GAS steps on the retail expansion engine in IndiaA year-and-a-half into its second innings in the country, GAS, the Italian denim brand, has sketched out massive plans of retail expansion and a turnover that exceeds Rs 50 crores. This year, the direct subsidiary of GAS Jeans, plans to take its count of five retail points to 11 and then to 30 on completion of its three years of its re-launch in India. “We are coming up with new stores in Chandigarh, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Chennai and Pune. When we started in 2010, our strategy was to reach 12 stores in three years. Once we reach those numbers, we will take up the next stage of expansion,” says Amit Dhanjani, Head Marketing & Communication, GAS India. In large formats, the brand has 20 points of sales.

InGAS steps on the retail expansion engine in India its first innings in 2007, had GAS tied up with Raymond, but the association was called off in 2009. “After three years, both parties mutually decided they wouldn’t want to continue the venture. The venture was planned with specific things in mind. I think 2007 was the boom time and the business plan was made accordingly. In 2009 when they reviewed it, it was not in line with the business plan and both parties decided it was not the way they wished to go and they parted amicably. GAS is still in close contact with Raymond,” Dhanjani explains.

Now with complete hands-on control on its franchisees, the company is seeing speedier growth and finds India amidst its favorable markets like Italy and China despite positioning itself as a premium. “We are achieving the numbers we wanted to. We did Rs 15 crores for the first year. Now we are targeting Rs 30 crores this year. For the next year it’s going to be Rs 35 crores.”

Aimed at 22 year olds, GAS denims start at Rs 4,500 and go up to Rs 11,000 and its core denims are available for Rs 5,500 to Rs 6,000. And yet it has a loyal customer base. Other than denims, it has an assortment of tees, shirts, belts, shoes, bags and casual jackets. “GAS is known for denim. From the beginning, our denim and fits have been appreciated. Some customers come and ask not for GAS denim but for a specific fit. And denim is all about fits. The consumer feedback on the product line has been phenomenal,” Dhanjani says.

Besides what makes GAS jeans popular amongst its loyal fan base consisting of both men and women is that it keeps innovating and has something new to offer every season in true sense of the term. “For this season we have launched six ounce denim. We are the only brand to have reversible denim right now in women’s wear. This has about 8 to 10 options and can be worn both sides. The price is Rs 4,500 and the response has been fabulous. We launched reversible about a year and a half back and this season it is colors now. Season on season we always come up with some innovation in denim. Two years back we worked on selvedge denim. We have worked on organic denim. Jeggings have got a fabulous response for us. Colors are doing very well in women’s jeans. We have flared denim coming in. Anti fits are coming back but not as anti as it was earlier. It’s looser. You will see a big range coming in autumn.”

But to stay strong in India post FDI in single retail and 30 per cent sourcing clause from the Indian government, Dhanjani reveals that it will not be their denims which will be manufactured in the country. “Denims form 45 per cent of our collection. Our entire merchandise is imported now but with FDI coming in we have to do at least 30 per cent local sourcing. Sourcing 30 per cent locally is a big challenge because there are a lot of elements that come into the picture. Everything that we do, the factory selection, the fabrics, has to be approved. But FDI will allow us to have stores completely run and controlled by us. But if we do that we come into a category where we have to produce in India. We are planning to do something in India but will be only our top line. It will never be for bottom wear.”