For more than 67 years, ASICS – an acronym of the Latin phrase anima sana in corpore sano which translates to healthy soul in a healthy body – has earned recognition among the world’s leading athletic equipment company which produces footwear and sports equipment designed for a wide range of sports.
The Japanese multinational company has been in India through distribution partnership from 2009 and since then there has been no looking back. The credit goes to the team who is putting the best put forward to make it a successful brand. And Rajat Khurana, Executive Director, ASICS, who joined the brand in 2013, has taken it to new heights.
In an exclusive interview with Indiaretailing.com, Rajat Khurana talks about the global turnover of the brand, its marketing strategy and a lot more.
What took the brand so long to come to India?
We have been in business in India through a distributor since 2010, and newly established our own sales office in Jan 2015.
ASICS is positioned as True Sport Performance brand wherein running is our core. As the economy grew in India, running has evolved in India over the past few years. We offer products with innovative technology and are competitively priced. We believe there is a huge opportunity as in the category of running shoes and what ASICS can offer is matched in the Indian market so far. We thus feel it is perfect timing to ride on this portfolio.
What is global turnover?
In the year ending 2015, we reported net consolidated sales of 428 Billion JPY.
How would you describe the Indian marketplace in terms of potential and future trajectory? What are the major challenges?
India has a huge potential wherein organized sporting goods market is growing rapidly. It has to do with the fact that consumers are getting more health conscious and young urban population is growing. We have a performance-oriented portfolio and India would be key market for us.
What are your marketing strategies to promote ASICS brand recall in the Indian market? How many cities/ regions are you targeting?
We aggressively plan to open stores at key metro cities in next five years. In their key cities, India has a huge potential wherein organized sporting goods market is growing rapidly. It has to do with the fact that consumers are getting more health conscious and young urban population is growing. We have a performance-oriented portfolio and India would be key market for us.
Will ASICS products be manufactured here or will they be imported from Japan ?
At this point of time the products are imported, Our products are produced at supplier factories mainly in and ASEAN countries
Please share your growth and expansion/ location strategy for EBOs. Will you be be opening stores in malls or on high streets?
The locations are chosen strategically depending on various factors, currently all our outlets have been in malls.
Will the stores be company-owned/ franchised or a combination of both?
Currently the stores we have in India are based on franchisee model.
Please give a brief about your product innovation, new categories and sales targets for current fiscal.
ASICS opened the Institute of Sports Science in Kobe. Since then many remarkable technological innovations in sports shoes and apparel have stemmed from unique site.
We are highly committed to grow in the Indian marketing and will be opening stores across metros in the coming three years. Regarding new products, Running is our core category, in addition to Running; we also see opportunities in cricket, multi indoor court sports and Tennis.