Rajat Khurana, Managing Director-Operations, Asics feels, yoga pants and gym clothes have taken over the mainstream apparel sector and are even threatening to dethrone denim as the go-to basic. The brandis currently expanding its presence in new categories to offer tracks suits, heritage inspired tees and shorts to go with its modern hybrid range of footwear. “Performance clothing continues to be our focus with more fashionable colors being incorporated into mainline apparels to gain traction of younger consumers,” states Khurana. “We also plan to incorporate a new foam technology into our footwear business to take over existing brands within this segment,” he adds. Asics recently launched a new range of footwear called -- Metaride.
Athleisure growth at a fast pace
The athleisurecategory in India is growing faster than other apparel categories owing to several reasons. A research report indicates, the overall athleisure category is growing at 10 to 12 per cent annually wherein menswear is growing at 8 to 10 per cent, while the women’s and children’s segment is growing at 11 to 15 per cent. “The market in India is likely to grow in double digits atleast for next five years. People will opt for athleisure rather than just casual clothing which will compel sports brands to improvise their offering,” says Khurana.
Khurana believes that the athleisure segment in India has a huge potential and offers strong growth opportunities. However, still a lot more needs to be done,” he says. “The biggest growth barrier is the lack of high-quality polyester manufacturing facilities. More than 90 per cent of synthetic fabrics used by our domestic and international players are imported from China, Korea & Hong Kong,” adds Khurana.
India needs to educate its manufacturers on different blends of fibres, improve their technical skills and focus on developing the required resources locally to make India a textile hub for fashionable athletic wear. “We also need more and improved retail landscape to grow the atheisure retail concept stores within India market,” adds Khurana.
Move towards lifestyle clothing
In future, Asics plans to expand its apparel range to lifestyle clothing designed for character, color, fashion to gain traction of younger consumer. “While ‘technology-backed’ apparel has been our core business, we are now expanding into newer categories to offer tracks suits, heritageinspired tees and shorts to go with our modern hybrid range of footwear, “ adds Khurana.
Asics also plans to expand its store network by 2020. The brand plans to add another 15-16 stores this fiscal. “We will expand across both Tier-I and –II cities. All our stores will be franchisee-owned,” he states.