The world`s first ever exclusive Reebok showroom to be located in an airport duty free area was launched in Sri Lanka yesterday.
?Sportswear is now increasingly being attached with travel, we are looking to leverage on this mood alignment,? Reebok SAARC Region Managing Director Subhinder Singh Prem told the Daily FT adding that Sri Lanka`s emerging importance as an aviation hub, prompted them to locate it here.
According to Mr. Singh this is also seen as a strategic manoeuvre to provide Reebok products at a competitive price, sans the 67% duty that is imposed on imported footwear in Sri Lanka.
Rs.1.5 million will be invested in the construction of the showroom that will hold Rs.3 million worth of stocks at any given time. Reebok also plans of get more aggressive in the Sri Lankan market due to its high growth potential.
?We estimate that in another 3-4 years, Sri Lanka will have a 25% stake in the Indian subcontinent market. This will amount to about US$ 30-40 million,? Mr. Singh added. The Indian market is currently estimated to be US$ 120 million.
Reebok is also planning to open 2 new exclusive ?single brand? showrooms in Colombo and Kandy within this year. Moves are also underway to go beyond the borders of Colombo, by leveraging on its partnership with DSI.
Reebok products will be available in select DSI showrooms islandwide, especially in cities like Kurunegala, Negombo, and Galle, which are leading tourism spots. Plans to produce certain entry level Reebok products in existing DSI manufacturing plants are also in the pipeline.
D. Samson and Sons Assistant General Manager (Brands) Kaushalya Perera noted that this would reduce Reebok`s production costs by about 30%. She observed that this cost advantage could then be provided to the consumers.
Reiterating Reebok`s commitment to strong growth in the Sri Lankan market Singh observed that ?all Reebok products are launched simultaneously on a global scale. So when it comes to Sri Lanka we are not holding anything back.?
Reebok introduced 20-30 new footwear models and 200-300 apparel products each month. Mr. Singh said that this broad range of quality products, which provides customers with a strong choice, is another aspect which would establish Reebok in the local market.
The limited presence of Nike in Sri Lanka is also seen as another positive factor for deeper market penetration. However, Mr. Singh noted that counterfeits were a problem in the initial stages that there were high-level meetings underway with DSI on the recommended course of legal action to mitigate this problem.
?High-end technical products cannot be copied. Counterfeits will also come to a natural death over time,? he added. Mr. Singh also noted that Sri Lanka needed to transform itself from a leading apparel manufacturer to a ?total solutions provider, while strongly leveraging on its `ethical sourcing destination` image, strong backward linkages and skilled pool of middle level managers.