One of the marketing strategies of the German shoe company Adidas that acquired Reebok is converting regular Reebok stores into smart ‘Fit Hub’ outlets. Dave Thomas, managing director, Reebok India and Adidas India, was in Panaji recently for the launch of the first Fit Hub in Goa and 129th in India. In a brief interview with Team B&C, he talks about the company’s strategy and future plans
Q: As the new head of operations in India, what is your view of the Indian market?
Both Adidas and Reebok are popular brands in India and have the largest share in the sports shoe segment. Between the two brands, Adidas is bigger in turnover. Shoes continue to remain the largest contributor to our sales, fetching 60 per cent of the turnover, while the rest is from other products.
Q: What are your plans for the company?
I came to India in October last year. It is a country that I always wanted to visit and coming here feels great because I get to travel and meet so many famous people. But on a serious note my plans are to increase efficiency and sales of brand Reebok in India.
Q: ‘Fit Hub’ stores are smart in design, but how are they adding value to existing sales?
We believe they are adding value because our previous format stores that have been converted to Fit Hubs are showing big uptake in terms of sales. They are increasing the interest levels of people coming to the store. Through it we are able to take the fitness message to consumers and also register very strong business around the country. We plan to open about 30 more Fit Hubs in India by year-end 2015.
Q: Do they require more investment from the company?
Yes it does and we will continue to do so because to bring this premium experience to consumers it is worth investing and doing it right. The stores are coming up very well. I am not going to name the exact number but they definitely cost more than the previous format stores. It is because of the quality of fixtures and the experience that we bring to our customers. We have taken no compromise approach while setting up the stores because we want consumers to get really inspired. The stores operate on the franchise model. If you go in any part of the world like Boston, New York, London or Dubai, the Fit Hubs are exactly the same in quality, layout and concept. The size may differ but otherwise each store is basically the same. This store in Goa is in a big space but some are smaller stores too. We are very proud of the Goa store because it gives equal space to the men and women sections which is a break from traditional store display that always gives more space to men’s section.
Q: Is this your first visit to Goa?
The second time actually. We had our entire senior management team come down here last month to talk about future strategy and it was a very inspiring venue.
Q: Is the Goa market different in any way from rest of India?
Yes it is. You have got lot of international customers. They are from different countries and have travelled to other cities and know what a Reebok Fit Hub store is about. The awareness of fitness is high and interestingly Goa sells more of plus size shoes than rest of the country. We ran out of stock in size 12 within the first week of opening and had to ask for more.
Q: What took you so long to set up a Fit Hub in Goa?
Goa was always there but we were looking for a good location. We are very satisfied with this location in this old building and it is also placed advantageously. The store opened two weeks back and it is already seeing lot of interest. We want to open more Fit Hubs here but are waiting for the first outlet to settle and do well before opening more.