ANALYSING THE LOCATION AND MERCHANDISE MIX AND SUGGEST A NEW LOCATION AND REVAMPED MERCHANDISE FOR UNITED COLORS OF BENETTON IN PANIPAT.

Benetton Group Spa manufactures and markets fashion apparel in wool, cotton, and woven fabrics for men, women, and children primarily in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It also provides leisurewear. The company sells its apparel products under the brands of United Colors of Benetton Adult and Kids, Undercolors, Sisley, Sisley Young, Play life, and Killer Loop. In addition, it produces and sells raw materials, such as fabrics, yarns, and labels; and semi-finished products, as well as offers industrial services. Further, the company engages in real estate operations. It operates a network of approximately 6,400 stores in 120 countries internationally.

Benetton entered the Indian market in 1991-92, as a 50:50 joint venture with the DCM Group in Delhi, and launched its flagship label UCB. Effective from 22nd December 2004, Benetton became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Benetton Group, Italy. UCB is today a leading brand in India with more than 90 stores across Delhi, NCR. The retail network is a mix of owned and franchised stores.

The apparel retail environment in India is highly competitive. Panipat is a Tier-3 city and UCB in Panipat is operating as a franchisee outlet. Generally in the case of Tier3 cities apparel brands like UCB operates on franchisee business model rather than company outlets.

The needs, taste and demands of the customer living in such cities are different from those of Tier-1 or Tier-2 cities. Benetton in Panipat is witnessing decline in number of sales due to bad location and unplanned merchandise mix. Location and merchandise mix plays a significant role in the operation of any apparel brand. Location defines the connectivity to any store whereas merchandise is the soul of the brand.

The purpose of this paper is to study the effect of location and merchandise mix on the brand in a Tier 3 city.The research includes questionnaire survey, personal interviews, and secondary study.

This research will help in deciding a new location and revamped merchandise for the brand which will increase the sales.