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Liberty Shoes enters lifestyle category, to launch premium fragrance line

Liberty Shoes will spend Rs 10 crore to market its new business venture, Liberty Lifestyle. To begin with, the brand will launch 12 fragrances, six for men and six for women, and an aftershave

Liberty Shoes Limited has announced its foray into lifestyle retail with Liberty Lifestyle, beginning with the launch of its line of premium fragrances.

Explaining why the brand took the decision to veer from its stronghold and dabble in something new, Adesh Kumar Gupta, CEO, Liberty Shoes Limited, said the plan to enter a new segment was already in place before the introduction of GST.

Adesh Kumar Gupta

“The footwear industry was facing a lot of taxation, much before GST came in. So, talks about entering a new segment was there even before GST came in. Liberty Shoes has also always been known for innovation but lately we were not able to attract a lot of new customers because there is only so much innovation you can do in one segment, every year,” said Gupta.

After lot of research, the company zeroed in on fine fragrance because they found it to be a segment with a higher value proposition, higher ROI and no inventory issues.

“About 24 months back, we came to the decision that this is a product category that we can retail in our own stores and also one that would allow us to catch the millennials and the younger generation through e-commerce. We also think that this new introduction will have a positive rub-off on our shoe segment as well,” said Gupta.

A new logo and brand identity have been conceived and created for the new vertical. The brand has also opted for an omnichannel approach for the retail and distribution of its fragrance line.

“Out of the 600 stores that Liberty already has, we have chosen 70 luxury and high-end ones where a lot of millennial footfalls are being recorded. We will showcase our fragrance line in these select 70 stores. In addition, we have tied up with all e-commerce players. We are already in talks with all large-format stores like Central and Lifestyle to position our products,” explained Gupta.

Virus is the design and creative agency working on this new venture by Liberty.

The brand will also spend about Rs 5-10 crore on marketing Liberty Lifestyle in the very first year.

According to Gupta, the fragrance category in India is around Rs 2,000-crore strong and is growing at a rate of 20-30% (both organised and unorganised). Commenting on how Liberty Lifestyle will compete against already established players in this category, Gupta said, “The fragrance category, just like the footwear category, is fairly dominated by the unorganised segment. The Rs 500 and below segment is dominated by deodorants. But I believe the Indian consumer is looking for affordable luxury products. The major players in this segment are international brands like Hugo Boss, Armani, Tom Ford, but the millennial population can’t afford these brands. This is where we come in. Our products will be at par with these international brands in terms of packaging and quality but at an affordable price range of Rs 2,000-2,500.”

“We want to be the Tom Ford of India. We are not very concerned about the market share but the positioning of the brand so that we can introduce many more products under the lifestyle category,” added Gupta.

Gupta said investment-wise the company hasn’t had to put in a big amount in the production or distribution front. A majority of the investment will be on the marketing front.

“There is no investment in the plant and machinery. We have tied up with a bottler who will be doing the complete packaging for us and then we are bringing it to the market through our already established market chain route. So, there is hardly any investment in the product. Much of the investment is in publicity and promotion,” said Gupta.

The new EDP (Eau de Parfum) collection will consist of 12 fragrances, which will have six options for men and six for women. In addition, the brand will offer an aftershave for men. The entire product range will be available at select Liberty outlets across the country from mid-October and at multiple e-commerce platforms and leading retail outlets soon after.

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