Footwear retail chain, Metro Brands Limited has introduced BioFoot – a custom foot solutions brand – with its first store in Colaba, Mumbai.
The store spanning across 2,500 square feet offers a curated range of experiences, services, and products to provide solutions for foot-related ailments. Consumers can purchase footwear solutions (customized (3D) insoles and shoes) for various foot-related concerns including heel pain, flat feet, bunions, corns and calluses, and even diabetes-related foot issues.
“BioFoot is a revolution in the footwear technology and wellness space. Post the pandemic, we have seen an increase in the need for health and wellness among consumers. Being leaders in the footwear industry, we wanted to meet these demands head-on and set trends that prioritise the wellness and well-being of our consumers,” said Nissan Joseph, CEO, Metro Brands.
“The store offers products for both men and women and exclusively from international brands including FitFlop, Clarks, Brooks, adidas and exclusively from Aetrex, OS1st and Orthofeet,” he added.
Consumers who visit the store begin their in-house experience by booking a foot scan, which will help them know their feet better. This will be followed by the in-house experts recommending the right footwear or customized insoles for feet corrective measures. Post this, the customer can either buy a pair of shoes from existing premium brands, order a customized 3D insole that can fit into their current shoes, or order a new pair of personalized shoes made from scratch. They can also opt for a consultation and a medicated pedicure.
“Right now, for the next 12 months, we want to focus on getting the model right. We are targeting high-street locations as we feel this is not a traffic-led business. This is also a tier I city play, and it is not yet going to be part oftier II,” he explained.
For the third quarter that ended December 2022, Metro Brands reported an increase of 11.19 per cent in consolidated net profit at Rs 112.99 crore. It had posted a net profit of Rs 101.61 crore during the October-December quarter of the previous fiscal.
Talking about the results, Joseph said, “The strategic initiatives that we have put in place, which is driven off the fact that footwear market is growing in India, both in terms of absolute value and moving from the unorganised sector to the organised sector, we will benefit from that. The middle class is rising in India, and with that comes the realization that people like premium products and value for their money. We also feel that tier II and III cities are becoming vibrant and offer ample opportunity for us to go in and become profitable in those cities.”
At present, 25 per cent of stores of the company are located between tier II and tier III cities. The company is looking forward to expanding the number of stores on three broad parameters – strategic initiatives, clustering, and new market penetration.
“The backdrop to all of that is having financial discipline as a company, operational rigor, and better consumer understanding and that makes it effective for us to really penetrate and take advantage of the opportunity. We eye 55-57 per cent gross margin, EBITDA of 30 per cent, and profits in the 15-17 per cent PAT range,” he concluded.
When asked about introducing Foot Locker in India, Joseph declined to comment, however, added that sports is an amazing space in India.
Going ahead, the company is planning to bet big on the value-segment brand Walkway and FitFlop. “At present, Walkway has 60 stores and we are confident that Walkway can become a considerably sized chain. Also, FitFlop is a comparatively new brand with only 2 stores up till now. We are looking to open another 5 and that is a 250 per cent growth.”
“Today, FILA has 25 stores in the country and we have a growth runway of opening up to 200-300 stores,” he added.
According to a recent report, the company which had 720 stores as of end-2022, said last March that it would add 260 new stores that sell brands like Mochi, Walkway and Metro to expand in cities where it is already present and in smaller towns.