The sales of British footwear brand Clarks has been adversely affected in India because of the COVID-19 outbreak, resulting in the brand to hold back its expansion plans. There will be around 20% drop in sales in 2020, assuming that the market would bounce back to normalcy by June-July, the company said. It maintained that  its planned projection to reach the first goal of 3 million pairs by 2023 could be delayed by a year.

N Mohan, executive director & CEO, Clarks India said, “Looking at the current scenario, we will do 15% to 20% lower than last year in terms of pairage compared to our planned growth of 30%. We are confident that a strong brand like Clarks will only emerge stronger.”

The company normally achieves 35% to 40% of the whole year budget in the first six months and the second half is where it does bulk of the business, Mohan maintained. Last year the company achieved 45% growth in sales over the previous year, by selling 8.7 lakh pairs of footwear. This year, it has targeted to achieve 30% growth by planning to sell 1.2 million pairs.

“The first three months of our financial year have been a complete washout. The remaining nine months will now be crucial for us and we are looking at various scenarios. Scenario one is where we will be allowed to work from June onwards and scenario two is where we start opening our stores by July or even afterwards. Our business solely depends on brick and mortar model. We have our own 52 stores and also signed up for 16 more, between our own and franchises. It all depends on when we would be able to start functioning,” he explained.

The brand has presence in around 400 large format stores and has plans to scale it up to 550 this year. “Due to COVID-19, we may not be able to reach 550, but we will add another 50 stores for sure. Likewise, we will add another 50 or 60 to the existing 200-strong mom and pop stores,” Mohan observed.

It may be mentioned that close to 55% to 60% of the brand’s products are produced in India, and it is an important sourcing destination for the global sourcing team.

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