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Fila to set up Indian arm soon

Italian sportswear maker Fila is set to leap into the Indian market by setting up an Indian subsidiary by the end of this fiscal as it trains its focus on the SAARC region.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 02, 2009, 12.26 AM IST
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BANGALORE: Italian sportswear maker Fila is set to leap into the Indian market by setting up an Indian subsidiary by the end of this fiscal as it trains its focus on the SAARC region.

This would be the $1.5-billion brand���s second innings in India as it had entered the country through a licensing agreement with Mumbai-based Cravatex Ltd, which is also involved in distributing fitness equipment, in 2002. There was, however, no aggressive attempt to carve its presence in India as its priorities were aligned to building its business in Europe, North America and Latin America at that point.

Though the CEO of Fila India, Rajiv Bajaj, did not outline any investments through this direct presence, he said that it will purely be a marketing company that will begin by penetrating the Indian market and then look at neighbouring countries in the region. The Rajesh Batra-led group which is based in London owns the Fila brand in Europe, Middle East, Africa and South Asian markets.

���In the first phase, we will use a distribution model to market the brand through large-format retailers within metro cities. After a year, we will scale up our presence through exclusive stores,��� Mr Bajaj said.

Fila���s renewed interest in India comes at a time when the market has been capitalised by first movers such as Nike and Reebok. But its association with sports such as tennis and the endorsement by sportstars ranging from Bjorn Borg to Kim Clijsters over the years has iconised Fila���s F-box logo, making the company confident of courting the competitive Indian market.

���Fila has already registered brand recall in India, as it is a heritage sportswear brand internationally and was present in the Indian market since 2002. With differentiated products having a ���lifestyle angle��� and sensible pricing we see huge room for FILA���s growth in India as the sportswear market will double every four years,��� Mr Bajaj said.

The brand is targeting the young urban Indian with merchandise that retails between the Rs 1, 800 to Rs 3, 500 price band. While footwear dominates half of the product range, the remainder is contributed by sports apparel and accessories accounts for 5-10%.

The Indian sportswear market, estimated at Rs 2, 000 crore, is growing at 20%.
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