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SBD Global/November 21, 2013/Finance

Adidas India Seeks To Grow Reebok E-Commerce Platform, Women's Sportwear

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As part of its plans to revive its fortunes in India, Reebok is "opening new stores and launching new products," according to Antonita Madonna of the Indian BUSINESS STANDARD. But most importantly, Reebok is "considering its own e-commerce platform to cater to the large population in India." While on a trip to Bangalore "to launch Reebok's first 'FitHub' store in the city," Adidas India Managing Dir ERICK HASKELL discussed his plans for Reebok in India.

Q: You have the task of reviving Reebok’s popularity in India. Are you going to implement any lessons from your last assignment in China here?
Erick Haskell: The business model is the same in the two countries as they both follow mono-brand retail, franchise-operated store model versus Europe and the United States where we follow a multi-brand store model. And, we do not intend to deviate from this model in India. My estimate is that the market has the capacity to accommodate 50-100 new stores for the year.

Q: This store count may still not be adequate to cater to all of India as there are many players in the race. How are you looking at addressing this?
Haskell: We are looking at other opportunities and giving e-commerce a serious thought. We’re doing a fairly decent e-commerce business right now through some of the largest portals in India. That has made us look at the possibility of starting our own e-commerce platform in India.

Q: Any plans to get a single brand retail license in India?
Haskell: We've looked at the FDI regulations but we'd like to see a little more clarity before we move forward. One of the things we’ve looked at is to potentially acquire a license to open factory outlets or something like that, but largely we’re dedicated to this franchise model.

Q: So how does Reebok aim to continue in the country?
Haskell: We will look at the license a little later, but my priorities now are completely focused on building the business. We have decreased the number of total stores after a rationalization, but we’re left with a very healthy portfolio from which we can continue to grow further.

Q: The entire sportswear industry has a stake in the fitness segment. How is Reebok different?
Haskell: This strategy that focuses on fitness alone is the biggest differentiator. We are not only looking at fitness alone, we’re also looking at those categories that are particularly appealing to women. We’re placing huge emphasis on women's fitness. In FitHub, there is an entire floor dedicated to women’s fitness. We’ve also got one of our brand ambassadors Nargis Fakhri to represent our studio category.

Q: The industry is dominated by male consumers in India. What is the potential for the women's categories in India?
Haskell: I don’t think the women’s market is being adequately addressed right now. I also think the overall fitness industry is growing, so the women’s share is also bound to grow (BUSINESS STANDARD, 11/18).
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