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German footwear brand BIRKENSTOCK enters India

New Delhi: German footwear brand BIRKENSTOCK–with origins dating back to the late 18th century — has entered the Indian market, starting with sale of its popular sandals online before opening a store in the Delhi-NCR region early next year.

Sale of the sandals, that are popular among shoppers globally, is live on the brand’s India website where it is also offering shoes and heels priced between 2,009 and 17,999. The collection on its website offers footwear for men, women and children. The traditional German brand will go live on other e-commerce marketplaces shortly. Currently, the brand is not sold in the local market via trade partners, the company said in its statement, adding that this is the first time the brand has made an official entry into India. The brand will also open a store at Delhi’s T-3 airport terminal next year.

“We expect India to become one of the five most important markets for BIRKENSTOCK within the next few years, since we offer the perfect products for the current spirit of the times and lifestyle in this country,” Oliver Reichert, CEO of the BIRKENSTOCK Group, said in a statement. He added that a booming, brand-compatible retail environment combined with a strong consumer demand for genuine quality, makes India an attractive market for the company.

BIRKENSTOCK, that is sold in 100 countries, has set up an India entity which will serve as a wholesaler and distributor of the brand to different retail store partners in India, said Vinay Bansal, managing director, BIRKENSTOCK India.

BIRKENSTOCK shoes will continue to be imported from the company’s manufacturing facilities in Germany. “By expanding sales activities over the medium term, including in the form of partner-operated retail concepts and shop-in-shop concepts for retail partners in the premium segment, the company is underscoring its growth ambitions in the region,” the company said in a statement announcing its India launch.

Bansal, however, did not share more information on the brand’s retail locations here and said the company will evaluate them as and when it finds suitable partners in India.

Even though the brand has been around for decades, over the last few years it has made a stylish comeback as celebrities and fashion designers have taken fancy for the chunky sandals. In fact, French luxury label Celine’s summer-spring 13 collection paid tribute to the brand’s popular Arizona style of sandals by putting it on the runway, giving the brand a strong endorsement among affluent shoppers. BIRKENSTOCK is also popular for creating and popularising the “footbed” in its sandals that creates more comfort for those who wear the shoe.

BIRKENSTOCK employs 4,300 people worldwide and is one of the German footwear industry’s biggest employers. The company is a sixth-generation, family-run business headquartered in Neustadt in Germany.

India is a large market for footwear, albeit for value players. The country produces 22 million shoes annually.

Source: Livemint