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India set to outpace Spain & UK as Pepe Jeans’ largest market, says CEO Marcella Wartenbergh

Marcella Wartenbergh, the global CEO of Pepe Jeans, said India is poised to become its largest market in the next two years, outpacing its home country Spain and the UK. This growth is attributed to young consumers in India increasingly embracing Western-style clothing.

“We are witnessing rapid growth in India in comparison to more established markets, surpassing them in both sales and profit. Additionally, considering that Gen Z currently lacks substantial funds, it is predominantly millennials and Gen Y who will steer the market, and we must ensure that the brand aligns with their preferences,” remarked Wartenbergh. “A significant advantage for India is its proximity to suppliers, facilitating faster innovation processes.”

As a clothing retailer that also possesses the menswear brand Hackett, India stands out as the largest market in terms of volume, contributing to almost one-third of its global sourcing. Pepe India experienced a sales surge of over 50%, reaching INR 560 crore in the fiscal year ending March 2023, while its consumer revenue, as indicated by the price tag, surpassed INR 1,100 crore.

Nonetheless, menswear constitutes nearly 90% of the sales in India, a contrast to the 65% in Europe—a dynamic the company is now keen on altering. Pepe Jeans has set its sights on diversifying by expanding its offerings in footwear and women’s western wear, a sector currently dominated by global competitors such as Zara and H&M.

“We believe women are becoming much more modern in India driven by western influence, and are also playing an important role in business. If our women’s wear is just 30% of what we earn from men’s merchandise, the numbers will swell,” added Wartenbergh, who joined in 2019 replacing earlier CEO Carlos Ortega, a Spanish entrepreneur who still has a stake in the apparel and accessories group.

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