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Despite the tumult in the market which ended as a soft ripple, 2015 was relatively a good year. Though the disruption in the exports segment caused some jitter, the overall performance of the industry was healthy. Many rated the year average, while some went to the extent of displaying great pessimism. If we dig up a little more, the picture is undoubtedly rosy. The fact that several international retail chains and brands, in particular, knocked the Indian door to establish themselves showed that the market has been quite lucrative. If Columbia enjoyed a superiority air in its segment as the premium player, then it has been jolted by the entry of The North Face through Myntra; if Clarks was once treated a premium brand, today it has been dislodged by the arrivals of brands like Johnston & Murphy and Church’s, and been relegated to another segment. These all happened in 2015, and made the year quite eventful. Such atmosphere has toughened the game brands and retailers alike have to play today to consolidate their positions in the market. The trend is no more about feeding the needs of people, but it is more about adding fashion, style and finest quality. This means a new focus on design, ensuring higher quality and consistent emphasis on R&D. The altered landscape also demands the retailers to rethink their strategies, and it has to be more sophisticated at a time when the online format has created a helter-skelter. 2016 has a good start. The sincere and relentless efforts of industry leaders have borne fruit. The Designers Fairs in Chennai is one such achievement which will help bring in global talents to the industry. This soon will be succeeded by India Shoes & Accessories Forum, 2016 in Mumbai, a gathering of top footwear and accessories brands and retailers.

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