Global Sporting Brands Shake Up India Operations

Last week, Nike’s global headquarters decided to downsize its operations in India by firing 20 percent of its staff in the country. The news comes roughly a year after the sportswear giant announced the closure of over a third of its retail stores in India.

While this may seem significant in the context of India, for Nike this was part of a global corporate restructuring which saw the Oregon-based sporting giant focus its investments on a select group of 12 metro cities - none in India - across the world. The decision also highlights a dilemma that major global brands, especially sports brands, face: How to crack the severely complex Indian market; simultaneously battling ever-changing regulations, geographies, and government policies, while selling to a price-sensitive consumer base, the majority of whom still view their products as aspirational and a luxury.

With a booming economy and a young population bitten by consumerism, India is among the biggest markets for consumer goods globally. Since the late 1990s, several multinational consumer companies have come ashore, looking to get a piece of the pie that is just over 1.3 billion people strong. Quite a few, however, have had to dial back plans, if not leave empty handed.

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