Thursday, 11 July 2013 00:17
By Cheranka Mendis
Expanding their presence in to the branded apparel retail sector, Sri Lankan conglomerate Softlogic yesterday introduced popular footwear and accessories brand Charles & Keith to Sri Lanka, with the opening of a new store down Bagatale Road.
Spanning over 1,103 Sqft, the outlet hosts some of their best and unique designs in ladies’ footwear, bags, eyewear and bracelets and has been set up with an investment valued at Rs.40-50 million.
Aimed at addressing the growing consumer demand for branded apparel, the store is part of the group’s plan to be prepared for the new wave of shopping malls and complexes set to be established within the next few years in Sri Lanka.
Softlogic Chairman Ashok Pathirage told the Daily FT that plans were already in place to open a few more Charles & Keith stores within the next two to three years.
“This is a very popular brand, especially in Asia,” he said, explaining their thoughts behind bringing Charles & Keith to Sri Lanka. “We do not have this kind of line up in the country at the moment. It is a reasonable product price-wise because it is a Singaporean company. And it is a brand for the Colombo elite to enjoy.”
He noted that the investment totalled close to Rs. 50 million as all store fit-outs have been imported from Singapore itself. “We did not want to compromise on quality. The store here is on par with their other stores worldwide.”
The store beckons shoppers with its modern façade that is in line with the sophisticated style of Charles & Keith’s brand. The contemporary interior is accentuated with elements in sleek glass and is brightly lit to illuminate the store, bringing a sense of modern minimalism.
Pathirage said: “We hope to open a few more stores within Sri Lanka. The plan is to open another four to five stores within the next two to three years.”
Charles & Keith Business Development Executive Wong Yijun told the Daily FT that the main reason to come to Sri Lanka was the response they have received from Sri Lankans to set up shop here.
“Also, when Pathirage approached us, we saw Softlogic as a big conglomerate with sufficient capital, through which we can sustain our brand name in the region. We hope the company will make Charles & Keith one of the most popular international brands here.”
Products sold in Sri Lanka are under five key categories, she said – shoes, bags, shades, belts and bracelets. The bulk of it however comes from shoes and bags. Under footwear there are pumps, ballerinas, stilettos, edges, flats, moccasins, heels and sandals while a range of bags – sling bags, totes, hand clutches, handbags and wallets – are in store. Standard, skinny and thin low, mid and high waist belts, aviators and frames and steel alloy, acetate and leather bracelets make up their product line up in Colombo.
“I hope the ladies here will enjoy it. As you can see you can always mix and match the shoes, wallets and bags lined up here. It has been presented in a way that each wall tells a different story,” Yijun said.
Pointing to a wall that holds shoes and bags which showcase an olive and pebble colour tone, she expressed, “This is savannah story – the colours and designs have been inspired by the desert and safari. On the other side is a more African, colourful, bold, mix and catchy colour collection while.
There is a boho-romance collection as well and more Greek-like shoes.”
“There are different themes for different customers,” Yijun acknowledged.
Pix by Lasantha Kumara