Polish sportswear brand 4F is readying its maiden foray into India in June this year and is on the lookout to associate with some of the prominent sports clubs and athletes in the country.
With more than 200 retail points and presence in over 600 multibrand sport shops in 36 countries worldwide, this active-wear and lifestyle brand is currently sponsoring eight Olympic committees, including Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Latvia, Greece, Slovakia and others.
In India, however, it is first eyeing national sports clubs and associations for a tie-up before it can approach the Olympic committee.
It has already associated itself with athletes like Łukasz Kubot, a Polish tennis player; Czech sprinter Patrik Sorm, Alpine skier, Karlina Gramatniece, Dumble Olympian luger Ulla Zirne and several others who are its brand ambassadors.
“For the initial foray, we will first focus on online sales and see how the market responds. First, we need to understand the market and consumer behaviour here. Thereafter, we may opt for a brick-and-mortar model as well”, Igor Klaja, the owner of the 4F brand told Business Standard.
He reasoned that while Poland is a more retail-driven market where consumers prefer athleisure type of clothing, its neighbour Austria, where 4F has a significant presence, is more wholesale-driven market.
Its products will be available on Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra and Jabong.
For its Indian foray, the company has tied up with Ace Turtle, an omni-channel platform, which is responsible for operations, distribution, marketing and sales of this brand.
Ace Turtle’s solutions are currently used by brands such as Ray-Ban, Puma, Max, Arrow, Flying Machine, Ed Hardy, US Polo, Fossil and others.
“For Asian countries, we always enter a market with a partner. This is the brand’s strategy,” he told this newspaper.
Initially, it will offer products imported from Asian and European manufacturers but Klaja is open to explore local sourcing once sales pick up. The products can also be customised as per Indian needs.
Apart from sports shoes and sneakers, it will namely offer two lines of clothing – sports collection, which one wears while playing sports like football; and a lifestyle line, where the clothes give a sporty look like sweatshirts, windcheaters and others.
Klaja said that since the past five years, the company has been registering a growth of 25 per cent while selling 50 million pieces of footwear, clothing and equipment per year.
“We have already entered eight countries in the recent past including Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and others and plan to foray into another 10, including Russia and UAE this year,” he told Business Standard.
According to Klaja, the entry into India and other countries will help 4F register an over 25 per cent growth after 2020.
It is estimated that the sportswear market in India grew from Rs 24,000 crore in 2014 to Rs 37,000 crore in 2016 and is forecasted to grow by 11.3 per cent during 2016-21 period.