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MAS Holdings chief shows way into Indian consumers psyche
Apr '11
"India is not a homogenous group of consumers. There are different layers of the middle class, like the layers of a cake. You should be aware of which part of the cake you want to bite into", said Mr Ajay Amalean, Director - MAS Holdings.

Mr Amalean was speaking at the 'LBR-LBO CEO Forum' on the role of CEOs and about placing Sri Lanka on the world map. He said that sales of their lingerie brand 'Amante' were growing very strongly in India and hope to operationally break even this year.

Amante was launched in India in 2007 by MAS holdings, which is amongst the biggest clothing exporters from Sri Lanka and supplies to globally renowned brands like Victoria's Secret, Nike, GAP and M&S.

MAS Holdings, which has sales close to US $800 million started operations in 1987, was the first to manufacture lingerie's in Sri Lanka. It currently employs around 45,000 people in 30 plants in nine countries and has four design studios in Hong Kong, Colombo, New York and London.

Speaking about the Indian market he said, “Although India is a huge market and is widely talked about for its 500-million strong middle-class, the country was actually several different markets”.

“India is not a homogenous group of consumers. There are different layers of the middle class, like the layers of a cake. You should be aware of which part of the cake you want to bite into", he informed top honchos from the industry.

“We are having phenomenal growth in India at an average of 40 percent, in a category, which itself is growing at 10 percent. On the other hand, our competitors are struggling, even after being in the Indian market for 8-10 years", he added by saying.

"Several brands launched in India, looked very enticing, but a lot many brought products made for different markets like, the UK or Germany and expected them to fit the Indian women, so ultimately they did not succeed.

“However, MAS designed lingerie products, specifically for Indian women. We physically measured 1,500 Indian women, as lingerie is worn very close to the body and needs to fit absolutely well, so we made a product, specifically for the Indian consumer", he observed.

Informing further about their foray in to the Indian retail market, he said, “We also remained focused on lingerie's and used a very effective retail network of department stores, although we were also tempted to start our own retail outlets like the other brands.

“However, two weeks before the opening, we realized, we would be paying for New York type real estate prices and selling at Indian prices. The two do not go together. So, we gave up the dream of turning retailer and instead became a brand and started a distribution channel. That's the reason for our success - understanding the market place”, he emphasized by saying.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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