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How Blackberrys reclaiming its fame in India’s competitive market

28 Jan 2019

Apparel Resources

Ramesh Kaushik, Vice President – Brand Experience, Blackberrys

Keeping pace with trends in the international ecosystem, the Indian retail sector is witnessing a strong inclination towards fast fashion. Complying with this, the brands are replenishing collections in their stores several times a year in order to make customers visit the stores frequently. Blackberrys, a fashion connoisseur for men, has understood it well. Ramesh Kaushik, Vice President - Brand Experience, Blackberrys, asserts,

In today’s competitive landscape, staying relevant is a challenge. As a result, the 27-year-old company decided to revamp its brand identity this year in April from a formal wear brand to a one-stop shop for total wardrobe solutions, hence, aiming to attract loyalists. 

Furthermore, with the market size of menswear in India slated to reach Rs 295,795 crore by 2026 and the simultaneous increase in the number of brands catering to the segment, revamping an established name in the sector seems like the best move forward.

Not So Formal, Afterall

Blackberrys is a niche brand with its formal linen garments for targeted audience. But was it enough for the brand to remain the preferred choice of India’s progressive men till the last?

Certainly not in today’s context. And that’s when Blackberrys went under the knife and introduced to the country the three distinct brands -- Blackberrys, Blackberrys Casuale and Urban Blackberrys. Today, the brand stands as a one-stop solution for formal, casual and hipster fashion wear with products ranging from khakis, shirts, denims, t-shirts, innerwear, shoes and accessories for men.

For long, Blackberrys has a target consumers who are in the age group of 25-35 years, but the introduction of its sub-brands is proving to change that. Blackberrys Casual and Urban Blackberrys are attracting the younger men audience, starting 18 years upwards and thereby improving the brand appeal. However, Kaushik asserts,

At Blackberrys, formal wear covers around 50-55% of the total product assortment, casual is 25-30%, denims account for 10- 15% and the balance is accessories and footwear. 

The brand is clearly moving closer towards its consumers and is continuously reinventing its image in a bid to reflect its identity that will strike a chord with today’s progressive cosmopolitan men. Credited with many firsts in the country, the brand has pioneered the impeccable fits by introduced wrinkle-free khakis, dress line trousers and its certified ‘whitest shirt in India’.

Delving Into The Details

Urban Blackberrys store

Shifting from its quintessential older, formal look, the brand has always stood for innovation. Blackberrys goes an extra mile to ensure that each of its brands offer quality products inspired by the looks of various genres, lifestyles, personalities and outlooks of today’s men. Owing to the brand’s commitment, majority of manufacturing at Blackberrys is done at its ‘state-of-the-art’ Gurgaon unit. Kaushik affirms,

Our manufacturing unit (comprising of technologically savvy imported machineries) typically takes care of the formal and the casual segment including suits, shirts, trousers, khakis, shorts, etc. We ensure that the collection is transported from the factory to the consumer touchpoint or the retail counter at least 3-4 weeks ahead of the beginning of the season. However, denims and PU jackets are outsourced from selected manufacturers across India and overseas.

Blackberrys prides itself in doing a merchandise mix basis the regional preferences. Typically, there are two seasonal collections -- Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, but Blackberrys goes an extra mile to offer two or more collections per season.

We break each season in what we call as ‘Hit-1’ and ‘Hit-2’, which evolve as the season progresses and subsequently, we keep on adding elements to our collections. At Blackberrys, we go according to the flavour of the season for our collections.

An Expansive Reach

Going casual all the way

Blackberrys has made its presence in 320+ cities with 1,000 retail doors, out of which 180+ are company-owned stores, nearly 65-70 are franchise stores, 195+ are large formats including Central, Pantaloons, etc. and 650+ are multi-brand outlets.

For EBOs, metro cities remain the preference for Blackberrys. Tier-II and III towns have also proved to be a good potential market for the brand, which it believes has ‘a large untapped latent demand’ from consumers who are conscious of quality, fashion, style and look. Kaushik informs,

Blackberrys has a mix market presence in India through multiple channels. In tier-II and III areas, we mostly have counters in multi-brand outlets. If we look at franchise-owned-company-operated (FOCO) and franchise-owned-franchise-operated (FOFO), our presence is equally split between tier-I, tier-II and tier-III cities.

Moving Forward…

With such intense re-branding and portfolio expansion, Blackberrys is growing at a CAGR of 17- 25% over the past 3- 5 years. Kaushik prides, revealing,

We closed FY17-18 at Rs 900 crore turnover and are eyeing at Rs 1,100 crore revenue for the next fiscal

In terms of retail expansion, Blackberrys is planning to open 100 new stores in India this year, wherein 35 will be company-owned and remaining 65 would be franchise-operated. Moving forward, Blackberrys will focus on South India market with all its three brands, for which it has created logistics infrastructures, thereby facilitating its growth plans in the region.

While it has got its claim to fame over a period of time and is trying to retain as well as improvise on things like identity, quality, innovation, the country’s retail industry is yet to see if the brand’s goals -- developing brand affinity and more ROI with a revenue aspect -- are achieved as targeted.

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