Interview with Ishwar Chugani

Face2Face
Ishwar Chugani
Ishwar Chugani
ED and MD
Giordano International and Giordano Middle East respectively
Giordano International and Giordano Middle East respectively

Inventory planning is very critical in every apparel retail business
Ishwar Chugani, Executive Director of Giordano International and Managing Director of Giordano Middle East (FZE), talks about the luxury clothing market in the Middle East during an interview with Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Manushi Gandhi. Synopsis: Founded in 1981, Hong Kong-based Giordano is a leading international retailer of men's, women's and children's apparel and accessories today. The company has its presence in over 30 countries of the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions. Chugani, the Executive Director of Giordano International, Hong Kong, began his career in 1979. He was responsible for setting up Sindbad's Wonderland, the first Middle East Indoor Family Entertainment Centre at the Al Ghurair Centre, Dubai. In 1993, he entered into a joint venture with Giordano International, and has successfully expanded the business from its original base in the UAE to numerous markets around the region. He received a Special Recognition award in the 2013 Arabian Business Indian CEO Awards in Dubai, and was named as one of the Top 20 Indian CEOs in the UAE by Forbes magazine in June 2013. Chugani studied business management at De La Salle University in the Philippines, where he graduated with honours. Excerpts:

Giordano’s business has grown considerably over the past few years. Do you feel that more and more consumers are opting for branded clothing?

Yes. Customers today are always looking for inspiration and aspire to have the best. They look for someone they can trust. At Giordano, we listen closely and give what customers want. Our primary aim is to give you the best possible experience in our shop - whether that’s in purchasing an item, following up on an order, returning a merchandise or even raising complaints. Today’s customers do not just buy from a company, they buy from a person they like and trust and who is knowledgeable and delivers what is promised.

With a new influx of digital innovations, apparel brands are now focusing on social media for marketing opportunities. To what extent does social media help apparel brands in better marketing their products?

Social media plays a very important role in today’s dynamic and ever changing world. Now more than ever, people are connected due to quick access to information. Being in touch with the customers and engaging them is just literally right at your fingertips. In order to remain relevant and meet the needs of customer’s dramatic changing shopping habits, retailers like Giordano need to be innovative and incorporate new forms of communication for the benefit of the organization. Most successful companies will engage customers through “omni-channel” retailing – a combination of both digital and physical experience.

For a fashion and apparel retail brand what can be called as the biggest risks and what kind of risk management should be done to reduce its effects?

Inventory planning is very critical in every apparel retail business. This enables all markets to have real time information and ensure that it manages an optimal DOI (days of Inventory). Corrective action can be taken promptly for any variances from the standards set, thus ensuring optimal use of resources both regionally and globally.

There have been talks about Dubai as a fashion hub by 2020. What are your views on this statement? What initiatives have been taken by the government in this direction?

The Middle East markets continue to attract an increasing number of international retailers and are competing with established global retail centers, with Dubai sharing one of the top positions as the most targeted retail destination. Likewise, the diversity of customers in the Middle East supported with a high disposable income is really a force to reckon with and is quite a magnet for international brands. Brands flock to the region hoping to get a slice of the pie. Tourism is still a big push for the UAE and Dubai particularly, has been recognized as a shopping destination and is a potential gateway for people from North Africa, Central Asia, and the Indian sub-continent. The Gulf markets, such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia offer a plethora of new learning and opportunities for any brand. The formula for retail success in this highly competitive region does not rely on familiarity with the brand alone. It’s more of a customer experience and that’s how you build loyalty to your brand.
Published on: 05/12/2013

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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