Keeping pace with the fast-moving Indian retail scenario, Coimbatore-based famous brand Trigger (wholly owned subsidiary of famous company KG Denim Ltd.) is moving in multi-directions to grab a larger share in the local denim market. The brand is targeting business worth Rs. 300 crore (three times as compared to the current turnover) in the next two years and has put strategies in place for the same. The brand known for its jeans is now turning into a lifestyle brand and is adding new product categories in its stores. There are plans to enhance its reach into already covered as well as comparatively new markets. Talking to Apparel Resources, Sailendra Thulasidharan, President of the company, which has in-house strength from fabric to finished garments, shared the overall growth strategy of the brand.
With an increase of 20 per cent in its gross turnover in 2016-17, the company increased its business to Rs. 111.64 crore compared to Rs. 93.02 crore in 2015-16. However, though the top-line increased, the bottom line was further eroded with the loss also increasing to Rs.1.43 crore against a loss of Rs. 69.65 lakh in the previous Financial Year.
The first step taken to arrest this situation and bring fresh leadership to the company was to recruit Sailendra, who has deep roots in textile business as he comes from a textile business family and has previously worked with companies like The Rajaratna Mills Ltd. and Sundaram Clayton Ltd. After just 8 months at the helm, Sailendra is confident that this year, Trigger will achieve break-even point. “Our target is not to just increase our turnover, we are focusing more on profitability and for that, various steps are already being taken, and a few more are in the pipeline,” he shared.
Among the various steps put in place, one of the most important is the transformation of the brand, from a jeans brand to a lifestyle brand. Under this strategy, Trigger is now going to add innerwear, womenswear, kidswear, and fashion accessories to its stores. In this broad product basket of the company, there will be unisex kind of products too. “We want that the entire family should come and shop from our store. They should get products better than their expectation. Price, good design and quality of the products, as also service at the store, everything should impress them,” he adds. The company did many surveys in this regard and then decided to take this bold step.
With the broader product offering, the company is also consolidating its distribution system and more thrust is now on EBO model. And the belief behind this move is the commitment to serve the customer better and give proper feel and comfortable shopping experience. The company strongly feels that the EBO format is still the best way to touch the consumer. Currently, it has 100 EBOs across India, mostly in the southern part of India. Yet, Sailendra feels that there is still scope to expand in states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.
“We are quite hopeful to get more growth in these states. Along with that, we will focus on Maharashtra and North India also. For that, we are exploring good partners/associates. EBOs is our first priority as there is ample opportunity in this retail model but we will have our presence in large store formats (LSF) too,” he added. This expansion in stores will help the company to achieve its growth and profitability target.
The company has improved a lot on product level without increasing the price, so now customers get world class garment at a fair rate. The product development team is exploring new options in knits and for that, some of the vendors in Vietnam as well as in India are in their touch. In the next few months, there will be much more variety in Trigger’s knit-based products. Similarly, improvement is also happening in inventory management and for that, focus is to understand customer’s ever-changing need and behaviour. To achieve this objective, brand’s team has put in a lot of effort to understand consumer behaviour and their buying patterns.
Furthermore, online which was so far a comparatively weak area for the brand is on the development track. The company is in the process to take services of good software companies like Microsoft to strengthen its online presence. The team, responsible for the same is putting extra efforts for quick data analysis of stores. “Overall, we are creating such a system which will compliment all our processes and retail model as well, and will increase productivity and the efficiency of the entire team. Some of our stores are already using such systems and going forward, it will be our prime concern,” he explains, and further adds that with the help of all these initiatives in last few months, the company has seen nearly 30 per cent increase in its revenue.
Improvements are not only happening in the retail and front-end of the business, but also at the shopfloor level where Trigger, with its state-of-the-art manufacturing unit of more than 300 stitching machines, has achieved positive results. One of them is really interesting. Recently, the HR team of the company had many counselling sessions with its workers and the idea was to reduce the absenteeism. These brainstorming sessions, training for supervisors, shopfloor data analysis, and troubleshooting initiatives to identify reasons for absenteeism finally helped it to increase the attendance rate by 10 per cent. Now the average attendance rate of the workers is nearly 93 per cent. With regard to apparel export, the focus is on quality and on-time delivery. The company also succeeded in adding new markets and more buyers with the help of these in-house initiatives and aggressive marketing.
Laundry forms an integral part of the denim processing. Equipped with laser/ozone finishing capabilities and with the handling capacity of over 2,50,000 pieces per month in laundry, the company offer wide range of washes including pigment, sulphurs and reactive dyeing. It gives major thrust to sustainable washing and looks to enhance production technology on this front.
“Apparel manufacturing and retailing are two of the most challenging industries, but we have the strength, right from the starting stage of the supply chain, supported by a good team and strong product, so we are definitely going to be successful,” concludes Sailendra confidently.