KARACHI: After eight years of growth and development, local retail store Fifth Avenue launched its 20th store across Pakistan at Ocean Towers. The inauguration was a relatively small affair with Komail Anam and Ammar Anam, young kids of veteran singer Khaled Anam, performing on a few Bollywood songs for the selected audience.
Amir Anees, the CEO of local brand, Fifth Avenue, says the label fills the gap created by the dearth of export quality products for teens. Even though many local brands have emerged following Fifth Avenue, it remains to be the first in shaping trends.
“We fall in the same category as Outfitters and Stoneage, offering casual western wear. But when we started out in 2005, there was a dearth of such stores in the country and we saw a huge gap in the market. That is when we opened up our first outlet at Zamzama,” says Anees.
Now, with international brands making their way to the malls in major cities across the country, the competition has intensified and there is a constant need to differentiate, at least from the local brands available.
“We are trying to follow trends of the international market. We anticipate what is gaining popularity in Europe and bring it to Pakistan,” he says. “Also, we strictly follow the international forecast on trending colours and apply them in Pakistan. For example, the black and white combo is likely to be a hit in 2014 and, hence, we will follow it accordingly.”
Where a shirt costs around Rs4,000 at Mango and Debenhams, Fifth Avenue is cheaper with a casual jumpsuit priced at Rs2,200. “We are very cost effective as compared to our other counterparts. We offer something for every strata of the society. We believe that we are a local brand and, therefore, we must cater to the needs of the local market,” asserts Anees.
Despite doing so well on the local front, the brand’s owner does not really have any plans for a global expansion. “We don’t have designs for expansion on the global front as such. We first want to establish our presence on home-ground and become a strong label,” says Anees.
However, it seems that as the online industry continues to grow exponentially, Anees is also considering a step into e-business. “Our strategic plan for the coming year involves targeting prime locations across the country as well as remodeling our website, which will focus more on e-commerce,” highlights Anees. “Currently daraz.pk is offering our products online but with our own website, we will also be looking towards marketing our clothes.”
While international retail seems far-off on his list of plans, Anees adds that if things go smoothly, his “brilliant venture” might just be franchised to Middle Eastern countries as well as India, but then, there is still a long way to go on the road ahead.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2013.
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