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Published
Mar 30, 2017
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Italian brand Benetton's growth stifles as competition grows in Indian market

Published
Mar 30, 2017

Italian fashion brand Benetton is struggling to make its presence felt in the Indian apparel market and is lagging way behind its competitors. Benetton’s early entry into the Indian market 25 years ago seems to have little benefit to the company as late entrants like US Polo, Zara and Levi's Strauss are growing at a faster pace, according to a Financial Express report.


Italian brand Benetton growth stifled in Indian market amidst competition - Benetton-Noida Store


Benetton India’s profits fell a sharp 79% to Rs 2.3 crore in FY16 with sales rising by just 2.2% to Rs 735.3 crore, data from the registrar of companies shows. In contrast, Levi Strauss reported net profit of R79.4 crore in 2015-16 up 64% over the previous year with sales growing at 18.5% to R752.7 crore.

Moreover, Pepe Jean’s net profits were up 83% in FY16 to Rs 65.78 crore on the back of a rise in net sales of 29.3% to Rs348.43 crore. Apparel brand US Polo crossed the Rs1,000-crore sales mark in India in 2015-16, less than five years after it entered India. Zara now clocks over Rs1,000 crore in retail sales. Compared with brands such as Louis Phillipe and Van Heusen, Benetton has grown at a slower pace.

Benetton attributed the drop to stiff competition and adverse weather conditions which had resulted in slow sales growth. In 2015-16 Benetton shut 98 stores. The company said FY16 had been a tough year due to poor market sentiment and the launch of several new fashion brands which had led to keen competition.

Retail experts pointed out Benetton had much less visibility than its peers since it did not advertise often. The lack of adequate effort to build the brand was probably impacting business, they said.

Rajat Wahi, head, consumer retail, KMPG, said Benetton’s slower growth was probably due to their focus on strengthening the current operations and improving profitability, rather than expanding.

“Until 2015, they were growing steadily. Benetton’s focus on tier 2 and tier 3 cities and apparel for men, women and children would help the company grow,” Wahi said.
 

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