The favourite sourcing destination for retailers from world over, Bangladesh apparently is turning into a potential market for them now with host of global biggies opening their own-label stores to cash in on the opportunities emerging from Bangladesh. Add to it the growing popularity of sports amongst the country’s youth, which makes Bangladesh even more exciting for those into sportswear.
Uniqlo, Puma, Decathlon, all have their stores in Bangladesh now!
Decathlon, the French sporting goods and manufacturer and retailer, as a matter of fact, is the latest to join the bandwagon after it opened its store at Uttara in capital Dhaka recently.
Expected to become a middle income country by 2021, the growing economic prowess of the country and increasing spending power of its citizens, seem to have turned Bangladesh into an exciting proposition for many big names.
It may be mentioned here that as of FY 18, the per capita income (income per person) in Bangladesh increased by 149.07 per cent in last 10 years, showing remarkable success in all socio-economic indicators from 2008 to 2017.
The country’s per capita income has reportedly increased to US $ 1,751 per annum in the 2017-18 (FY18) financial year from US $ 703 in financial year 2008-09 (FY09).
“The number of Bangladeshi sport enthusiasts is growing rapidly. We believe Decathlon can contribute to this rapid growth,” maintained Decathlon Country Manager Deepak Dsouza speaking to the media, adding, “This brand store can make sports more accessible to Bangladeshi people.”
The US $ 12-billion company has 1,500 stores in over 50 countries and is sourcing products like shoe, textile, sweater, camping equipment and bicycle component from Bangladesh for 20 years, he said.
Currently, it has business with 50 local suppliers.
Decathlon first opened its local office here in 2011. Some 180 people are working in its Dhaka and Chittagong offices, said Dsouza while adding that the company’s production has been growing 15-20 per cent annually here.
“In 2018, the company has shipped 100 million pieces of products to 12 different custom zones from Bangladesh,” added Dsouza.
If Decathlon is the latest to make its entry in Bangladesh, Uniqlo sensed the opportunities long back.
The world’s third-largest Japanese ‘Fast Retailing Co.’ launched its brand ‘Grameen Uniqlo’ through a joint venture with Grameen Bank Group in 2013.
The company currently has 16 Grameen Uniqlo stores in the country.
However, Uniqlo Bangladesh liaison office Country Manager Russel is of the opinion that the high tariff structure is still a challenge for locally produced goods to sell in the market. As such, Russel sought a friendly tariff structure to supply locally produced value-added items in the local market as local demand for apparel is mostly met by imports from India and China.
Meanwhile, German sportswear giant Puma opened its store in Bangladesh in April this year.
At the launch of Puma’s store in Banani area of Dhaka, Puma India Managing Director Abhishekh Ganguly said, “Bangladesh has a rapidly growing sporting culture and is a strategically important market for us,” adding, “This being one of the biggest Puma stores in Southeast Asia is a testimony of our commitment to all the professional and aspiring athletes here.”
The continuing trend of store opening by retailers has received positive response.
“This only goes to prove that Bangladesh is attracting brands as they (international brands) are now considering us consumers…Tables are turning,” quipped President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Dr. Rubana Huq, while welcoming other big names to open their flagship stores in the country.