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Titan bid to Fastrack into a lifestyle brand

Shilpa Phadnis, The Times of India
Bangalore, March 9, 2012

Titan Industries, which started as a watch brand in 1984, is taking a fresh gamble-to turn into a full-scale lifestyle company. The firm’s youth brand Fastrack will drive this transformation, an effort partly to ensure that the parent brand Titan is shielded from any risk. Fastrack is already into watches and eyewear, and now it is looking at categories like bicycles, helmets, shoes and apparel.

Titan’s play in the lifestyle category is similar to what US watch and accessory brand Fossil did — diversifying into eyewear, handbags, jewellery, shoes and apparel (in some geographies). Fastrack started as a sub-brand of Titan in 1998 targeting early jobbers, but is now a separate business unit. "Fastrack is the logical vanguard to present a range of lifestyle products since it targets the young — not only is this a large and growing population, they have a propensity to experiment with style, where Titan’s design advantage can be leveraged," said Devangshu Dutta, CEO of retail consultancy Third Eyesight.

Titan has picked categories where the market is fragmented and design is a key differentiator. It is betting on its marketing expertise that has built brands in categories where brands did not exist before, the best example being the Tanishq brand in jewellery. "Over 1 million two-wheelers are bought every month in India. With unorganized players currently driving the helmet business, we see large business potential. We are looking to launch helmets in the next financial year," said Ronnie Talati, VP and business head for Fastrack and New Brands.

Design leads fashion, so Fastrack will do the design and marketing in-house, and outsourcing manufacturing. "We want to source helmets from China. We still have to work out the logistics for bicycles," Talati said. Talati wants to make Fastrack a Rs 3,000 crore brand in the next 5 years.

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