Samsonite banking on marketing

Travel products giant Samsonite aims to increase its revenues and market share in Singapore and believes that it has the means to do so despite the slowdown in economic activity here.

Samsonite chief executive Ramesh Tainwala acknowledged in a phone interview that Samsonite's operations in Singapore faced the challenges of high operating costs and slower economic growth. However, he said Samsonite's strategy here was not just dependent on market growth.

"Our market share in Singapore does not exceed 22 per cent... If I grow my business (here)... to 25 per cent (of market share), without the market growing I can still deliver around 10 to 11 per cent growth in my business."

One of the ways Samsonite intends to generate growth is to "invest more marketing dollars than anybody else (in its market)", said Mr Tainwala.

"Even if we are investing, say on a global basis around 6 per cent of our sales in marketing, and 2.5 per cent on new product development, that's close to around US$200 million (S$279.5 million) of investment," he said.

Samsonite's revenue for the 2014 financial year was US$2.35 billion.

"We are almost six times bigger than our nearest competitor... There is only one company in the world in our category which has a turnover of more than US$200 million.

Samsonite hopes to open another one or two retail spots in Singapore by the end of this year.

As at the end of August, three new stores had already opened here this year, he said. As at March this year, Samsonite had 16 stores here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2015, with the headline 'Samsonite banking on marketing'. Subscribe