Interview with Mr G Sankar, Chief Executive, Reliance Footprint
15 October 2009,

While sales bottomed out in May or June and the cost structure is well aligned now, the topline has not picked up in organized retail as much as typically reported in the media, says Mr Sankar, Chief Executive of Reliance Footprint. Also, Mr Debdeep Sinha, AVP Planning & Marketing, Reliance Footprint talks about why Reliance Footprint is poised to grab market-share in the footwear market.

IRN: How is business? Where does Reliance Footprint stand currently?

Sankar: We have been growing steadily and have 16 stores in 13 cities now. While sales has grown steadily since May, we have also cut costs significantly and our model is much stronger now than before. However, the much expected spike in consumer confidence and sales has not come yet. We plan to open another 10 stores by March 2010.


IRN: What has been your product strategy?

Sankar: We are a multi-brand business. Around 30% will come from private label, but we don't anticipate more than that. Our customers walk into our stores for our selection and prices. We carry brands such as Woodlands, Lee Cooper, Franco Leone, Florsheim, Hush Puppies, Geoxx, Ecco, etc and create a one-stop shopping experience for shoes. We carry more than 40 reputed national and international brands including our own Reliance brands. This assortment itself makes our store a destination store where the entire family can satisfy their footwear needs. Here the customer can find all the leading brands available in the market under one roof and choose from the vast product range which cuts across all price points.


IRN: Who is your target customer?

Sankar: We are a family store. So, we carry something for every member of the family. Our prices range from Rs 299 to Rs 999, so you could say we cater to the SEC A and SEC B young urban customers. We plan to be in tier I, II and III cities. Our price points straddle the entire value chain with offerings starting from Rs 199 and going up to Rs 7000 per pair and higher.


IRN: What is your USP? How are you different from your competition?

Debdeep: When a customer has to buy a pair of shoes, we provide the one-stop destination with the width and breadth of assortment with different brands for the entire family. Very few players in the market can offer that.


IRN: What about single brand stores? What is your positioning against, say a Reebok store?

Debdeep: We carry the top selling styles from the brands, so we are offering the best of what different brands have to offer, under one roof. The 80-20 rule applies, 80% of sales for a brand comes from 20% of styles and we carry those styles.


IRN: What kind of marketing efforts do you deploy?

Debdeep: We use several methods, including print and radio advertising, in-store promotions, etc. We have a database of over 50 lakh Reliance customers that we tap into for analytics and marketing efforts.