Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

'People are buying what they need': Puma's Abhishek Ganguly

Ganguly, Puma's general manager for India and Southeast Asia, speaks to Forbes India about business in the pandemic, indicating a surge in kidswear and athletic leisurewear

Rajiv Singh
Published: Sep 3, 2020 10:58:34 AM IST
Updated: Sep 3, 2020 02:26:11 PM IST

'People are buying what they need': Puma's Abhishek GangulyAbhishek Ganguly
Image: Nishant Ratnakar for Forbes India

Puma has seen a spike in kidswear business post lockdown. From a paltry 4 percent contribution to sales pre-Covid, the numbers have leapfrogged to 10 to 12 percent, thanks to prolonged lockdowns and schools remaining shut. “Kids are at home… they aren’t wearing uniforms, which they would have for five days a week in normal times,” says Abhishek Ganguly, Puma’s general manager for India and Southeast Asia. Also, people are searching for fitness products and running shoes at least two to three times more than what they did during the same time last year, Ganguly tells Forbes India.

Q. How has the rebound been after the lockdown?
I am surprised with the positivity that people have displayed during such times. I wasn’t expecting such a comeback. April was a washout and so was May. We started recovering only in June and July. Ecommerce has been doing very well for us, in fact it has doubled. Overall, we are trending at around 75 percent of pre-Covid times.

Q. Are people buying more shoes or any other category?
Since people are staying more at home, they are either buying or at least using more track pants, shorts and T-shirts. They are buying more athletic leisure. Also, a lot of people, including kids, have now taken to fitness. As a result, our fitness merchandise is selling very well. Performance shoes are doing well because people are either walking or running around their societies, and working out at home. Sneakers will take a longer time to rebound.

Q. Have you seen any trend of consumers opting for cheaper products or have the discounts increased?
People are buying what they need. Value purchases happen when you buy four things and out of those you don’t need three things. That’s not what is happening now. Today, whoever is going to a store exactly knows what he or she wants. I’m not saying discounts are completely nil. As Indians, we love bargains, but it has not increased the bargain business or discounted business. Even in a store, we do not want to create heavy traffic or social distancing issues. So we are being conscious of how much discount we are giving because we want to restrict the number of people who are entering our stores.


(This story appears in the 11 September, 2020 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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