Reliance Retail expects a five-fold growth its sportswear business in the next three years, led by a spurt in sporting activities, increasing awareness for a healthy lifestyle, and a growing economy, a company official said on Thursday.
Reliance Retail, part of billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries, on Thursday announced a partnership of Performax with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to become the official kit and merchandise sponsor of the Indian football team.
To be part of the transformation journey when people are looking at sporting events beyond cricket and visualising sports as a carrier, Reliance Retail with its sportswear brand Performax is proving an affordable option, said its Fashion & Lifestyle President & CEO Akhilesh Prasad.
Though the current market size of sportswear is very small in India and largely dominated by local brands, Prasad said it has huge room for growth and Reliance Retail looks itself as a "catalyst" for this by providing affordable quality products in comparison to the leading international brands operating in the segment.
"We are the catalyst to grow this category. So we can grow it from whatever it is today, five times in a matter of three years," Prasad told PTI.
Reliance Retail has opened 11 Performax standalone stores in places, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, and has plans to add more in other parts of the country like non-metro markets.
"We are getting very good response in the standalone store. It will also be available at Trends and other chain stores. We will also get the products distributed (to other MBOs) so that it is available to a mass of people," Prasad said.
According to him, people are becoming more health conscious but there is a "dearth" of quality affordable brands in the sportswear segment. The international brands operating in the segment are expensive and out of reach, even for the upper-middle-class people, he added.
Besides, as the Indian economy grows, several sports leagues have started in the last few years such as Kabbadi, Badminton, soccer etc. and are giving a lifeline to sports in India.
"So as a result, I think an interesting crop of youngsters are going to look at sports as a career. And that is where we have to provide performance athletic gear, which is affordable for the children. That is where we are playing the role," he said.
While, the international brands, which operate in the segment are "extremely expensive", out of reach and unaffordable for children.
Prasad also assured about Performex products and said there is no compromise on the quality, though they are priced lower than the international brands.
"Our price is a surprise. In a lot of cases, our products are made in the same factory where the state-of-the-art international brands are being made," he said, adding: "We are giving absolutely top-of-line products but it suits the Indian wallet."
Under the brand Performex, Reliance Retail provides sports gear/apparel for track & field sports, soccer, tennis, hockey etc.
Over the growth of the apparel sector, Prasad said it has a good future led by factors such as a rise in income levels, increasing urbanisation and discretionary spending.
"So apparel and fashion have a huge future in India because we have a population number and income levels are rising," he said.
Through its multi-year partnership with AIFF, Performax will have exclusive rights to manufacture kits across all formats of the game but will also make it the sole supplier for all match, travel and training wear for the AIFF, including men's, women's and youth teams.
In addition, as the merchandise sponsor, Performax will also hold the rights to manufacture and retail these products.
Reliance Retail is a subsidiary of Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL), the holding company of all the retail companies under the RIL. RRVL had reported a consolidated turnover of Rs 2.60 lakh crore for the year ended March 31, 2023.