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Sporto: A sparkling new brand for men

"Started as an extension to Macho, Sporto has been receiving tremendous traction from consumers. Having established its presence in almost 1,000 stores, the company sees this as just the tip of the iceberg. Navinn Seksaria, Director, JG Hosiery, in an interaction with Inside Fashion, talks about his expansion plans and the company’s growing expanse in rural markets and small towns, which he candidly calls are no more ‘small’, as they possess humungous potential."

 

 

Sporto A sparkling new brand

Started as an extension to Macho, Sporto has been receiving tremendous traction from consumers. Having established its presence in almost 1,000 stores, the company sees this as just the tip of the iceberg. Navinn Seksaria, Director, JG Hosiery, in an interaction with Inside Fashion, talks about his expansion plans and the company’s growing expanse in rural markets and small towns, which he candidly calls are no more ‘small’, as they possess humungous potential.

Your brand is established well in intimate apparels. Take us through the brand’s journey so far

Sporto3

Sporto started as an extension to Macho, one of our mid-premium men’s innerwear brands. Sports cum casual wear, has been the trend in recent times. Hence, we started with gym vests as an extension to Macho. It got tremendous response and we decided to scale up and offer the full range of casual wear and sportswear. We launched a TVC last year and new distribution channels.

We have a whole range of intimate apparels encompassing leisure and sportswear. The product range includes T-shirts, shorts, capris, track pants in regular collection. Apart from that, there is an athlete collection made from ‘Fast Dry’ fabrics. In total, there are almost 40 products. Our target customers are men in the age group 16 to 35 years in A & B segments.

Do you think growth now centers around small towns and it’s important for brands to focus on them?

Small towns are no more ‘small’. They are almost as big as some cities were just a decade back. All towns and cities have immense potential and with the presence of media and Internet almost everywhere, it is becoming one common market. Since Sporto targets mid-premium segment, we are getting equally good response from cities as well as towns. From sales volume point of view, Mumbai vs RoM (Rest of Maharashtra), few years back, was around 3:2 or 1:1, now with growth of smaller towns1, the scales are tilting and RoM is giving us more volumes.

What are the growth, opportunities and challenges in small towns for apparel business.

Small towns have lesser brand-crowd, hence entry barriers are easy. They have good consumption as well. What is challenging is getting the right distribution partner. With good products and networking that can be overcome in a short time. Talking about competition from unbranded players, the unorganised sector is present in all markets, hence, not necessarily in small towns alone. But it affects only the economy segment.

What is the consumer’s understanding of fashion segments in small towns?Sporto1jpg

With the spread of satellite channels and Internet penetration, the fashion space is becoming more uniform. The consumer in Kolhapur is more updated and aware about latest trends. The gap between him and Mumbai consumer have become nil or negligible. This is good for brands as they can offer better product portfolio to all consumers. It also makes brands work harder as they always need to keep themselves updated.

How are you creating brand awareness in small towns? Tell us about your branding strategies.

TVC is the best media to create universal reach. But there needs to be a holistic branding strategy involving all channels of media such as outdoor, print and digital and social media. It has come as a surprise to us that smaller towns are ready to pay equivalent or better prices, there is no price constraint if the product is good.

How many EBOs, MBOs and LFS do you have? What is the share of earning in percentage terms from each format?

We are primarily focusing on the MBO segment and have been receiving tremendous response. We have established our presence in almost 1,000 stores, although it is just the tip of the iceberg. As for EBOs, we are not looking at them in this segment. Some regional LFSs have already taken our products and we are in discussion with national LFS.

What do you think is the future of etailing, and brick & mortar formats?

This category is perfectly suited for e-tailing but surprisingly it has not reflected in consumer behaviour. We have a good presence across all e-commerce platforms and e-commerce enabled website. We are getting a good response but feel consumer behaviour will require lot of change to get big numbers. As for our online presence, we are present in Myntra, Amazon and Flipkart. The advantages are obvious that it can establish connect with every nook and corner of the country directly with consumers.

Sporto

In online retail, consumers expect discounts just like in white goods. But in this segment, the logistics costs become very high due to comparatively low ticket sales value, hence distribution cost gets absorbed in logistics. Further, consumer behaviour is yet to see big change as far as this category is concerned.

Give us details about your new collection, theme, for the season? Nny innovations lined up for this season?

New products are being added, and we are extending the ‘Fast Dry in Tracks’ and shorts too. Apart from men’s wear, we are planning to extend our offering in women’s sportswear too.

Did business meet expectations this season since the brand is new?

After the disruptions of Nov-Dec, business has been robust in the last two months. We have received a good response for our products. We are already present in almost 1,000 stores across the country within a short time.

What are your expansion plans? Do you plan to explore new markets in India and abroad?

We hope to ramp up our distribution fast and target to grow 10 times in next two years. We have a distribution setup in the Middle East where we have received good enquiries. We aspire to clock in Rs 1,100 crores revenue this year. We expect 20-25 per cent consistent growth in the next 4-5 years. We want to make the Indian hosiery industry the global leader. With the potential of talents in engineering, supply chain combined with insights in marketing, and availability of good raw materials, I hope this should be achievable within next decade.

QUOTE

Navinn Seksaria, Director, JG Hosiery

“Since Sporto targets mid-premium segment, we are getting equally good response from cities as well as towns. From sales volume point of view, Mumbai vs RoM (Rest of Maharashtra), few years back, was around 3:2 or 1:1, now with growth of smaller towns1, the scales are tilting and RoM is giving us more volumes.”

“We are primarily focusing on the MBO segment and have been receiving tremendous response. We have established our presence in almost 1,000 stores, although it is just the tip of the iceberg. As for EBOs, we are not looking at them in this segment. Some regional LFSs have already taken our products and we are in discussion with national LFS.”

“We have a good presence across all e-commerce platforms and e-commerce enabled website. We are getting a good response but feel consumer behaviour will require lot of change to get big numbers.”

 
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