Interview with Kapil Pathare

Kapil Pathare
Kapil Pathare
Maxwell Industries
Maxwell Industries

From inner to outer - coming a full circle
Maxwell Industries, (part of the VIP Group) engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of innerwear, lingerie, readymade garments, socks and other accessories, is now looking to establish itself as an apparel brand. The company entered the lounge and leisure wear category in 2014 and is working towards consolidating its position in this segment. Recently the company launched exclusive stores called Inners which will bring all its brands under one roof. Nivedita Jayaram Pawar spoke to Kapil Pathare, Director, Maxwell Industries on the shift in strategy and the road ahead.

What's the ethos behind launching exclusive innerwear store called 'Inners'? How many outlets of Inners are there presently and how many more are you planning to launch and where?

Inners is basically Maxwell’s retail division to showcase and sell the complete range of Maxwell under one roof. The first store was launched 6-7 months ago. On an average an Inners store will span 350-550 sq ft. Our target is the tier II and tier III cities as we see a big scope there. We started with two company-owned outlets at Navi Mumbai and Thane and 5 franchise outlets in Mumbai, Bangalore and Mangalore. The plan is to open at least 100 franchise outlets of Inners in the next three years. We are opening stores in Hyderabad,Goa and Bangalore. Our major target areas for Inners are the southern parts of India. The location strategy for Inners is stand alone stores in mall, high street and large residential areas.

How large is the innerwear market in India and at what rate is it growing? What are the factors contributing to this growth?

Innerwear retail in India stands at around ₹18,000 crore and is expected to grow at CAGR of 13 per cent. Fashion has been a major influencer so much so that today innerwear can be defined as the 'fashion inside'. Showcasing the elastic band of the innerwear has become commonplace for men. So brand is very much important for this generation. And, the organised retail environment has given a new impetus to innerwear shopping in this country. Now it’s not just men buying for men but women too buying for men.

Maxwell has been a pioneer in its segment. What are some of the significant changes you have seen in the industry? How has the industry evolved?

The innerwear segment was basically considered a shy segment. But it has changed in the last few years largely driven by youth who are the driving force of this category. High quality fabrics like Lyocell, Micromodal Lycra, Tencil Lycra, Modal Lycra, etc have become an intrinsic part of the segment. The industry has now moved from being a necessity product to a fashion product. While the innerwear market has been growing rapidly since the last five years, the manufacturing capacities with latest technologies have not kept pace with this development. The result is that the Maxwell Industries Group turnover: ₹260 crore Retail outlets: 1,10,000 No. of dealers: 550 market is flooded with substandard products. Brands with no manufacturing capacities are outsourcing and supplying substandard products backed with a flurry of marketing.

You entered the loungewear segment recently. Tell us about the move.

We wanted to take Maxwell from a purely innerwear category to include apparel as well. So we entered the loungewear and leisurewear segment in 2014. This range comprises t-shirts, track pants and bermudas for men and leggings, tops, capris and t-shirts for women. We are now looking to enhance this segment with better products and a wider range. The year 2015-16 will be all about consolidating our position in this segment and taking it ahead.

What’s the contribution of this new segment to the overall growth of the brand?

We closed at ₹260 crore in March. We are pushing to ₹300 crore in 2015-16 out of which outerwear segment will contribute ₹10-12 crore.

How is e-commerce adding to the growth?

I personally foresee e-commerce as being a game changer for the innerwear industry in the near future. This is largely due to the influence of social media on the youth. Currently, we are present on the sites of various e-commerce giants like Flipkart, Amazon, etc. We are currently working towards building our own e-commerce site and it should be live before the end of 2015.

What changes have you seen in consumer behaviour and demand?

Consumers are very conscious for the value they pay and more educated towards quality and use of products. Though Maxwell is largely present in the mass segment we are noticing that consumers are willing to try and pay for new products which are in premium category. Also, consumers are looking for better deal on the e-commerce space.
Published on: 04/01/2016

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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