Franchise network is a quick route to grow for Woodland: Harkirat Singh

Though retail network has been the front face for Woodland, still the brand took to the franchise route, observing potential it has for expansion. Leather industry is India is dominated by a few players. With the government giving a big boost to this sector and established brands welcoming partners for growth, franchisors can very well extract returns from this segment. Let us see what Harkirat Singh, Managing Director, Woodland, has to say on it. Retail network has been the front face for Woodland, but the brand took to the franchise route, foreseeing the potential it has for expansion.

How will the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) facilitate expansion of leather brands?
The DIPP is actively supporting the cause of promoting leather industry. It will provide funds and also help take Indian brands across the globe through various other possible means. It is of the opinion that there is no reason why India cannot produce big luxury leather brands and grow from simply being a contract manufacturer.

How many franchise stores do you plan to open this year?
Woodland plans to open about 50 stores in this calendar year that will be a balanced combination of company-owned and franchise stores. While franchise network is a quick route to grow, we plan to ensure that we partner with the right and like-minded partners and thus, take a steady approach to grow. Our retail network is well-spread across the country and we intend to grow across.

Leather being a niche segment in franchising, what potential lies for international expansion?
The DIPP is interacting with the private players in the leather industry to finalise the scheme put forth by the government, wherein brands would be able to access overseas markets through global exhibitions and trade fairs, without having to set up their own individual offices abroad. Its time, India should become an exporter of brands, the way China is pushing its brands and not just supply material in the leather sector.

What opportunities lie for international brands to expand in India?
The DIPP is also in talks with global luxury brands to encourage them to set up manufacturing units in India. With one of the world’s largest stock of cattle, India gets access to abundant raw material for the industry. Leather is one of the focus sectors under the Make in India initiative with exports in the sector projected to grow at 25% per annum over the next five years.

How will the Union Budget-2017 impact franchising?
As anticipated, this year’s budget is a fine-crafted piece with a balanced approach towards industry and individuals. While the manufacturers have got an ease of four (instead of existing 20) labour legislation codes, there have also been announcements on employment schemes for textiles and leather sector to further support jobs for individuals. This will encourage investors and franchisors.

How will funding get a boost through the budget?
The key behind any growing economy includes the youth, women, farmers coupled with the right infrastructure. These have been given the desired focus in the budget. Over all, it’s a welcome budget that is empowering individuals, ensuring the fund cycle to flow at a constant pace and add to the economic growth.

How will GST affect franchising in leather brands?
The GST gives us a clear understanding that the government wants to simplify the existing complex tax code and make India one whole market (unlike the division of code/taxation across each state). Simplification is a welcome move for any business, mode or partnership. Thus, GST will certainly bring a positive change in franchising. While the slabs have been under discussion, only the finalisation will tell how positive it is in actuality.


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