How This Fashion Retail Brand is Max-imising its Growth From being the first employee, today Vasanth Kumar has risen to be the Executive Director at Max Fashion

By Punita Sabharwal

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When Landmark Group entered India with Max, Vasanth Kumar became its first employee. Today the man has risen to be the Executive Director at Max Fashion. Talking about the entry of Landmark in India, Vasanth shares, "This concept was launched in 2004 in Dubai, by the Landmark Group. At that time, I was a part of the start-up team for Peter England."

When the group set up the brand in India, they started operating from a two bedroom apartment. In 2005, the initial team was created, who made the products available. Simultaneously, they also started looking for a property and the first store came up in Indore in 2006. The first four years were actual test for Kumar because the format itself is challenging by nature. It was virtually a 100 per cent private label.

Sharing on the growth journey so far, Vasanth says, "Max has been growing at a rate of 34 per cent per year for the past 12 years as claimed. In 2010-11, we started to break even and after that there was no looking back." The team he had started with, is still working with him. Talking about their growth, he says, "We claim to be a fashionable brand at an affordable price. So it is very important to retain that image."

To build this scale, Vasanth put a lot of focus on getting its foundation right. Talking about his initial struggle, Vasanth says, "We went through a lot of losses during initial days. There were temptations whether to increase the price or to dilute the product. And we were very clear that this is going to be a Rs 5000 crore brand."

Talking about his next goal, Vasanth says, "Initially, our target was bringing freshness in fashion within 60 days, we have brought it down to 45 days. Now, our biggest challenge is Zara which brings freshness in every 30 days. It is a huge target for us now." So far the retail chain has opened 190 stores and by this year, it is going to have 200 stores.

On the learnings in retail, Vasanth says, "We are very clear that if one segment does not work for us, then it does not work for us. We close it and we don't really hesitate in doing that." The brand started another format for Tier III towns named as "Easy buy', which was run on franchise format.

Talking about its expansion, Vasanth says, "Right now, we are focused only in the South. And it is at a stage, where Max was seven years back. It is undergoing losses. We are waiting for the network to cross Rs 50 crores. Right now, we are Rs 25 crores. Once we cross 50 crores, we will break even." For Vasanth, a brand like Max can become a billion dollar company by 2020 and a brand like Easy buy would become Rs 2000 crore by 2025. But, that's a huge target he has set for himself.

(This article was first published in the July issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)

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Punita Sabharwal

Entrepreneur Staff

Deputy Editor, Entrepreneur India Magazine

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