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HomeCover StorySEPTEMBER 2023 - U.S. Polo Assn.

SEPTEMBER 2023 – U.S. Polo Assn.

Multi-billion-dollar global brand U.S. Polo Assn. continues to look for avenues and partnerships to expand into new global markets as well as new and innovative areas of business. As the brand looks to make its mark in India RLI caught up with J. Michael Prince, President & CEO of USPA Global Licensing to discuss the company’s ambitions across India and around the world.

U.S. Polo Assn. has recently announced outstanding results that have seen them exceed their 2025 goal of $2bn three years early. This has resulted in a new goal of reaching $3bn in sales and a total of 1,500 U.S. Polo Assn. retail stores in the coming years.

In order to reach this target, their global team will continue to execute their aggressive store, digital and international growth strategies to further expand their global footprint in key cities and markets worldwide.
“The brand’s footprint today is a fast-growing presence across 190 countries, with over 1,100 U.S. Polo Assn. retail stores and thousands of wholesale locations spanning department stores, sporting goods channels and independent retailers as well as e-commerce,” explains J. Michael Prince, President & CEO of USPA Global Licensing.

Palladium Mall, Mumbai, India

“Our record growth is the result of expanding our existing sizeable footprint across all regions around the world. U.S. Polo Assn. has seen a balanced growth strategy with significantly increased market share in more mature markets such as North America and Western Europe while delivering exponential growth in emerging markets such as Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and India.”

The current brand footprint in India stands at more than 400 brand stores and about 2,000 shop-in-shops across more than 200 cities in India. Together with Arvind Fashions Ltd. their brand licensing partner in India, U.S. Polo Assn. is aiming to become a billion-dollar brand in India alone over the long-term, further positioning themselves as an international power brand and one of the top-selling casual menswear brands in the country.

Legends Campaign;
Mahesh Bhuphati & Leander Paes

Across the board, the company has leveraged a multi-faceted digital strategy to support their omni-channel footprint, which has resulted in stronger traffic engagement across their global brand and e-commerce websites. More specifically, in India, in order to further enhance its digital offerings for customers, U.S. Polo Assn. has launched an exclusive new brand website: USPOLOASSN.in

“The site will carry the entire selection of the brand’s product offerings across menswear and kidswear. The website will also feature the brand’s footwear and innerwear collection, as well as the newly launched USPA womenswear line. In addition, it is hosting the “Legends Forever Play Together” campaign and its merchandise including polos, denim, oxfords, tee shirts, sweaters and jackets from the latest AW’23 collection,” Prince highlights.

To bring the India site to life back in July, the business worked hand in hand with its licensing partner in India, Arvind, testing over several months. Its engagement KPIs have gotten off to a great start and the official site launch takes place during the Legends campaign.

Legends Campaign;
Milind Soman & Arjun Rampal

Its partner Arvind has grown U.S. Polo Assn. in India to become one of the top selling international menswear brands in the country. The product is beloved in India for a variety of reasons, such as its classic American styling, its authentic connection to the sport of polo as well as the country’s historic connection to the sport of polo that dates back to the 13th Century.

The company has also successfully revolutionised the in-store customer experience through its new identity stores, featuring modern décor, an all-white interior and authenticity through elements of the sport of polo, like accessories and game broadcasts, for which the brand is based. Due to such popularity, in late 2022, U.S. Polo Assn. launched five stores in one day simultaneously in the city of Bengaluru, Arvind’s corporate headquarters.

“We are actively expanding our retail footprint in India to over 500 stores in the coming years with the target to double that over the long-term. We strengthened e-commerce expanding beyond third party sites. We have also maintained great relationships with our strong wholesale and online partners. U.S. Polo Assn. and Arvind will continue to invest in our people, brand and infrastructure and continue to focus on the customer. I remain optimistic for our industry and for U.S. Polo Assn. as we continue to grow and maintain our leadership position in India,” says Prince.

U.S. Polo Assn.’s Fall 2023 Collection

Discussing the recently launched Legends campaign in India, Prince explains that immersing consumers in the brand story throughout their shopping experience began with the U.S. Polo Assn. campaign ‘Play Together’ featuring the company’s first Indian Brand Ambassador, Arjun Rampal. The inspiring campaign has Rampal “twinning” with his real life family, was a huge success and captured millions of fans across the country. He goes onto say that they are now introducing The Legends Campaign as a way of continuing the storytelling and celebrating U.S. Polo Assn. being a top casual menswear brand in India.

“Arjun Rampal and Milind Soman are the ‘Legends of the Modelling industry’ while Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhuphati are the ‘Legends of Sport’. The campaign, which celebrates their legendary stature, also shows the legends reminiscing their fondest memories where their journey began. It further showcases themes of fashion, style, nostalgia as well as bonding between the legends, while presenting the cool and sporty factor of the brand. In the campaign, the Legends can be seen sporting the all-new AW’23 Collection from U.S. Polo Assn. We anticipate this being another hugely popular campaign for us in India, appealing to all ages, backgrounds and interests.”

Outside of India, the business continues to expand in the UK following the launch of its debut site at Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlets which continues to exceed expectations. Work on two new locations is underway, East Midlands in winter 2023 and their high energy store concept in London which is slated for opening in 2024.

Overall across Europe, total sales are approaching half a billion and the company is taking market share in Western Europe as well as seeing additional growth in Eastern Europe. Their target is to expand to 100 stores in the next decade in this region.

USA Team & Spain battle in the XII FIP World Polo Championship

The business has also been prioritizing taking a global and holistic approach towards its long-term sustainability journey. They have been working diligently to improve the brand’s global footprint through products that are better for the environment. More specifically, U.S. Polo Assn.’s overarching sustainability initiative USPA Life works towards improving the impact of its business on the environment. USPA Life also offers a global and growing selection of apparel, footwear and accessories with sustainable attributes.

In addition, through partnerships with organisations like 4ocean that share our mission and vision for a sustainable future, Prince feels they can do more. This year’s goal more than doubles the previous year’s accomplishment, removing 150,000 pounds of trash from the world’s oceans.

“Thanks to our amazing global team and our partners around the world, I remain optimistic about the power of the U.S. Polo Assn. brand. It is resonating more and more with the millennial and gen z consumer because of its classic style, authenticity and value for quality and we are working hard to engage these markets. There is so much opportunity for U.S. Polo Assn. in the future, from global expansion to product innovation; we are not taking our foot off the gas anytime soon!”