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  • MAP Asia Pacific Ltd

Selling Sports Shoes For Under $10 Turned This Shoemaker Into India’s Newest Billionaire

In a volatile week for its stock market, India has minted a new billionaire. Hari Krishan Agarwal, 66, founder of Delhi-based Campus Activewear, entered the three-comma club after the stellar IPO of his sports shoes company. Shares of Campus Activewear listed at a handsome 23% premium to the IPO price. Agarwal’s 74% stake is now worth around $1 billion.

The $9 billion Indian footwear industry has spawned three billionaires in recent years. Delhi-based brothers Mukand Lal Dua and Ramesh Kumar Dua, who run the $350 million (revenue) Relaxo Footwear, which sells everything from casual sandals to formal shoes; and Rafique Malik, who took his $107 million (revenue), Mumbai-based Metro Brands public only last December. (Though Metro listed at a 13% discount).

Agarwal’s tryst with entrepreneurship began in 1983 when he founded the “Action" sports shoe brand. In 2005, he launched “Campus” sports shoes for prices under $10. The budget pricing helped Campus make big enough strides to compete with global brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma, which sell sports shoes for upwards of $35.

“He capitalized on the huge vacuum in the Indian sports shoe market—in the $10 to $40 price range,” says Campus’ chief financial officer Raman Chawla.

An April 2022 report by Gurgaon consulting firm Technopak notes that in fiscal 2021, Campus was India’s largest player in the branded sports and athleisure (fusion of “athletic” and “leisure”) segment, both in value and number of shoes. It has a 17% market share by value and nearly 25% by volume.

Campus sold 13 million pairs in 2021, notching up $94 million in revenue. This was a slight dip from the previous year’s revenue of $95 million, due to the pandemic, but sales are marching upward again: Campus recorded revenue of $111 million for the nine months ended December 2021.



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