Reebok India launch at odds with low price strategy

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BOMBAY -- Reebok India Co., which recently announced it would lower prices as part of a new strategy, continues to keep its eye on big-ticket items with the launch of one of India's costliest sports footwear products.

Reebok says the $120 DMX 2000 Technology Running Shoe regulates the flow of air as well as cushions and stabilizes the foot.

Massachusetts-based Reebok International entered India two years ago with an 80% interest in Reebok India, a New Delhi-based partnership 20% held by local footwear exporter Phoenix Overseas. Nearly 55 models have been launched in the market.

But a reluctance by Indian consumers to buy fancy high-priced footwear has forced the marketer to revamp its strategies in favor of lower pricing and wider retailing to capture market share. The estimated $335m branded footwear market in India is 46% dominated by sports footwear, with local companies like Liberty, Mesco's and Action, and multinationals like Adidas, Nike, K. Swiss, Puma and Reebok competing.

Reebok projects sales of $14m in fiscal 1997-98 to March 31 next year. It hopes to break even the following year through a mix of budget, mid-priced and upscale footwear and apparel. Chaitra Leo Burnett, New Delhi, handles.

Copyright September 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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