After making a success of its foray in shoes, United Belt Co which is the exclusive Indian franchisee of Marco Ricci the luxury Italian brand, is now venturing into manufacture of men’s garments like denim wear, cargos and chinos and belts for men.
The company is signing on Sanjay Dutt its brand ambassador for Marco Ricci shoes for its new product extensions as well.
“We will pay an additional sum to Sanjay Dutt for the new range of products to be introduced under the Marco Ricci brand in India.
In addition we have also paid the license fee to our Italian principal for men’s wear garments,” says Mehboob Haider managing director of United Belt Company.
The company has signed a contract with Sanjay till February 2006 and is planning to renew it on expiry.
The move into men’s garments from accessories comes from the realization that for all major fashion brands, garments are the bread and butter of the business, according to Haider. He says Marco Ricci derives just five percent of its revenues in Europe from shoes.
Marco Ricci is now all set to introduce belts in a full-fledged fashion after initially test marketing them at Shoppers Stop outlets.
“They delivered the highest returns per square feet of any product for them,” claims Haider. The company which has already test marketed some evening-wear shirts is looking to introduce a range of formal shirts, party wear shirts, t-shirts and casual wear shirts under the Marco Ricci brand.
The designs for the apparel range will be supplied by the Italian principal and products customised for Indian market too will be approved by them.
After clocking Rs nine crore in sales in the very first full year of operations in India, Mumbai based United Belt Co is now spending around Rs three crore in advertising and promotions plus a couple of crore for the brand ambassador endorsement from Sanjay Dutt.
“Once we roll out our accessories and garments range, Shoppers Stop has promised to give us a shop in shop for the Marco Ricci brand,” says Haider.
The firm which is looking to double its turnover and post an operating profit this year, is in the final stages of acquiring a 1,200 square feet property at Linking Road Khar for its second company-owned store in the city.
They will open three outlets in the city on a franchisee basis at Phoenix Mills — Lower Parel, Mulund and Vashi respectively, either at malls or at high street locations.
Marco Ricci is offering potential franchises a commission of 7-10 percent of actual sales and a minimum guarantee to cover their actual overheads.
“We will open these franchisee stores as full fledged lifestyle stores stocking men’s garments and accessories like wallets and bags.
At a future date the stores may also have other lines such as sunglasses and spectacle frames, sleepwear for men and premium men’s care products such as soaps, deodorants, shaving foams/gels, post-shave healers etc.
“If our garments foray is successful we may even enter into the women’s garments category and children’s wear though for that we would have to pay Marco Ricci a license fee separately,” says Haider.