Home Interviews We see demand for safety shoes gaining traction

We see demand for safety shoes gaining traction

We see demand for safety shoes gaining traction

Mr Adesh Gupta, CEO of Liberty Group, talks to Bhargav TS about the company and its growth plan. Excerpts:

You have recently added Fighter industrial shoes to your product portfolio. What are the advantages of Fighter compared to other models? Who are the target audience?


The Fighter range of shoes offers maximum safety and comfort at an economical price as against Liberty’s globally recognised Warrior brand, which exceeds the specified safety standards. Fighter shoes are manufactured as per Euro safety norms, certified by PFI, Germany, and approved by FDDI India, ensuring the highest standards of safety, durability and comfort, making it ideal for any challenging environment.

The range has been developed keeping in mind companies that have large temporary workforce and want to procure shoes that are not only easy on their budget but also offer adequate safety.

Safety is a big issue in India. How does Liberty Shoes view this?

Though late, India Inc has thankfully become cautious about safety of its workforce. It has been more than a decade since we have been supplying shoes to a wide spectrum of Indian industry. We have so far more than 1000 satisfied corporate, Central, and State government organisations as customers.

How will the Liberty brand stay ahead of competition even while remaining honest to its core values?

Liberty is a pioneer in introducing polyurethane (PU) technology in India and is the only Indian brand to feature in the top five leather footwear manufacturers of the world. We have an in-house testing laboratory which validates raw-material, components and a finished shoe before being despatched to a customer. We also have extremely trained designers who ensure we stay competitive with latest designs. World reputed Desma brand of direct injection process machines ensure best quality.

We constantly keep innovating products for our customers. Safety shoes are primarily suited for industries where working hours are long and strenuous, thus comfortable shoes become the top priority in order to increase efficiency and maintain safety. The relatively lesser price will attract industries/factories that have never used a safety shoe before and also those that are compromising on their workforce’s safety by opting for local, non-branded products.

What will be the next big step for the Company?

With sectors such as automobile, construction, engineering, and mining focusing more on the safety of their workforce, Liberty Shoes sees the demand for safety shoes gaining traction. We currently manufacture about 50,000 pairs of shoes per day at our facility in Uttarakhand. We hope to take it to 60,000 pairs as soon as there is significant demand from defence, mining, and petroleum sectors.

What according to you are the pitfalls affecting the industry?

The unorganised shoe market is the biggest camouflage faced by the industry. It compromises on the quality and sells products at a lower price, which is a threat not only to the organised sector but also for the customer whose safety gets compromised. We must put a quality check of products to eliminate such issues.

Where do you see yourself ten years down the line?

Early last year, Liberty successfully revamped it supply chain to work on a low inventory model to reduce costs. To keep pace with development, Liberty plans to grow at a rate of 20 to 25 per cent in the coming year.

The brand has aggressive expansion plans and will increase their presence through more distributors, show rooms and outlets to cover untapped regions. Therefore the brand will follow an aggressive marketing strategy to introduce new products range in the upcoming season in order to match up with latest trends and designs.

How do you plan to expand distribution? How many stores do you have currently and what are your plans for the next couple of years?

We are pacing up our strategy of expanding retail stores and have opened around 25 new stores in the first half of 2013. Liberty has 400 exclusive showrooms and over 6000 multi-brand outlets across India. These stores are spread across metros, tier 1 and tier 2 cities. Our constant endeavour is to provide incomparable shopping experience and excellent service to its valuable customers.

Can you elaborate on your manufacturing facility? What is the capacity and are there any plans to expand?

We call our manufacturing facility ‘Humantech Centres’. When people visit us they see them as Centres of Excellence for manufacturing shoes where technology works in perfect tandem with human creativity.

We have ‘Humantech Centres’ at four locations in India- the latest being the Uttrakhand project which was launched recently to boost production of world-class footwear. This Greenfield plant near Dehradun will increase the company’s existing production capacity of 20 million units per annum by 200,000 units.

What is your future plan for the export market?


To cater to the need of the fashion-driven and quality-seeking customers in overseas markets, Liberty Shoes is exploring options for setting up overseas Trading/Representative offices. At present, we supply shoes in more than 25 countries, including major fashion destinations like France, Italy and Germany.

What is your sales target for this year? From which sector do you see growth coming?

Liberty produces more than 50,000 pairs of footwear a day. The range is among the largest in the industry, covering virtually every age group and income category starting from the price-conscious to the price-indifferent. We are confident that the new product line and expansion to tier 2 cities would help achieve more growth.

How was the company’s performance last year and how much do you expect to grow?

Despite the economy and consumer sentiments at an all time low, Liberty has managed to achieve good sales. The organised footwear market in India is growing at a rate of 10 to 15 per cent. Liberty’s Net Profit increased by 20 per cent and stood at Rs 2.59 crore compared to the corresponding quarter last year. The company also witnessed an increase in gross sales, which was up by 35.80 per cent and stood at Rs 107.74 crore. It has been a tremendous year for the company in terms of overall growth. Our emphasis has always been on providing quality and fashionable products and we will continue to invest and innovate and offer the best to customers.

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