Home >Companies >People >Man behind Puma’s success in India launches own sports brand

New Delhi: Entrepreneur Rajiv Mehta who launched and grew the German sports wear brand Puma in India to a 780 crore revenue company in nine years from 2006-2014, opened his own sports lifestyle brand D:FY on Tuesday. Mehta also plans to bring US-based Brooks Running Co, makers of running shoes since 1977, to India later this year in a five-year exclusive partnership.

The start-up KAN D:FY Sports Pvt. Ltd—the holding company that launched D:FY—launched in partnership with former private equity investor Prashant Desai, is looking at revenues of 1,000 crore, Mehta, founder, told Mint in a teleconference.

D:FY plans to have 22 standalone stores across eight cities by the end of December. The brand will also be sold online in an exclusive partnership with Amazon and in a shop-in-shop format at Central department store chain, said Mehta who had joined textile and retail company Arvind Ltd to set up their sports shoes division before turning an entrepreneur.

The founders of D:FY have invested $3 million and plan to put in an additional million dollars for marketing and promotions, said Mehta. The sportswear brand has taken on board former Test cricketer Anil Kumble as its mentor for product design. Additionally, it has also roped in cricketer Hardik Pandya as well as Bollywood actress Nidhi Agerwal as brand ambassadors.

D:FY, the sportswear brand, will manufacture in China and sold here at price points between 2,000 and 6,000, whereas Brooks will retail at price points between 8,000 and 12,000.

Sports is one of the largest categories in fashion, said Mayank Shivam, fashion director, Amazon India. According to Shivam, the category is seeing broad-based growth driven by tier II and III towns, which account for 60% of its overall sales. Moreover, within the category, apparel sportswear growth is being driven by women buyers whereas sports shoes growth comes from children followed by women, he said.

The sportswear category is seeing a lot of new entrants. International brands such as Under Amour and New Balance have entered the market recently and on Amazon they are growing at three times the market rate, said Shivam.

Moreover, even existing brands such as shoes brand Red Tape have launched sportswear ranges. Besides, a number of start-ups, some of which are helmed by celebrities like former cricket captain M.S. Dhoni’s Seven, tennis player Mahesh Bhupati’s Zeven and actor Hrithik Roshan’s HRX, are in the athleisure space.

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