‘A man can be judged by the shoes he wears.’ Footwear today is much more than just an integral part of one’s attire; it helps the modern day consumer make his or her unique lifestyle statement. This study was done to understand the footwear preferences was various categories of footwear and to understand the footwear shopping behaviour. The objective of the study was to segment young adult footwear shoppers into unique footwear shopping orientation groups and to develop a profile for each segment with respect to footwear benefits sought, importance of store attributes, patronage behavior and demographics. To start with, a secondary research was done to gain a broad understanding of the footwear industry in India, in particular footwear retail, and the modern Indian consumer. In-depth interviews of 10 young adults from metros, both males and females, were conducted to arrive at the parameters used in the evaluation of footwear, footwear retail stores and also to understand general footwear usage and buying behavior. This understanding and the parameters arrived at were then used in formulating a questionnaire consisting of 60 line items which was administered through online surveys. A total of 100 responses were achieved of which 85 were complete responses. The data of the complete responses was then analyzed through frequency distributions, factor analysis and cluster analysis. Factor analysis helped to reduce the number of variables to 8 factors. On the basis of these 8 factors, the 85 respondents were classified into 3 clusters with unique shopping orientations. The result of this study can be helpful to footwear retailers in customizing their merchandising, display, and other store attributes like space and availability of mirrors to gain maximum store loyalty and patronage.
Footwear is much more than just an integral part of one’s attire: while on the one extreme, it helps the modern day consumer make his or her unique lifestyle statement, it also helps enhances the performance of athletes and sportsmen at the other extreme.
A brief history of footwear
One of the first things made by our primitive ancestors was foot covering. It was primarily used to protect themselves from burning sand, rocks and rugged terrain. Records show that different civilizations like Egyptian, Chinese and other early civilizations, all contained reference to shoes. It is also mentioned in the Bible. The Hebrews also used it in binding a bargain (Shoe History, 2009).
The first form of shoe consisted of a simple piece of plaited grass or rawhide which was strapped to the feet. During early times, sandals were the most common type of footwear. In Mesopotamia, during 1600 – 1200 BC, a particular type of shoes were used. They were soft and made of wraparound leather.
Up to almost 1850, the method of making shoes was the same as that in 14th century B.C. in Egypt. Hand tools were used. Shoes were absolutely straight. There was no difference between the right and left shoe (Shoe History, 2009).
In 1845, the first machine that found a permanent place in the shoe manufacturing industry was invented- the Rolling machine. In 1846, a sewing machine was invented. In 1875, a machine was developed which later came to be known the Goodyear Welt Sewing Machine (Shoe History, 2009).
Rubber heels for shoes were patented in on January 24, 1895 by Humphrey O’Sullivan. These rubber heels on shoes outlasted the leather heels then in use (The History of Shoes, 2009).
Keds were first mass-marketed in 1917 (The History of Shoes, 2009). They were positioned as canvas-top “sneakers.” These were officially the first sneakers. The word “sneaker” was coined by Henry Nelson McKinney, an advertising agent. This was because the rubber sole made the shoe stealthy. All other shoes, barring a few exceptions like moccasins, made noise when a person walked. Hence you could ‘sneak’ on anyone wearing Keds.
Since the mid-20th century, the type of shoes being created has changed considerably compared to the traditional crafting techniques. This is due to advances in plastics, rubber, synthetic cloth, plastics and industrial adhesives. Leather, even though is still used in expensive dress shoes is no longer really used in athletic shoes. Soles, which were once hand stitched, are now machine stitched or simply glued on.
A century ago, if a lot of effort was put in, a person might have been able to produce a few pairs of shoes. Today, automatic Toe Laster for Goodyear Welt shoes can produce 1200 pairs in an 8-hour day (Shoe History, 2009).
Footwear industry in India
The Indian footwear and leather industry is amongst the top-10 foreign exchange earners. It is also amongst the top-12 focus manufacturing sectors in the country if we consider it in terms of competitiveness and untapped potential.
The world’s largest footwear manufacturer is China. Next is India. India producs 16 billion pairs accounting for 13% of global footwear production. India produces 2065 million pairs of different categories of footwear (leather shoe uppers – 100 million pairs, non-leather footwear – 1056 million pairs and leather footwear – 909 million pairs). India exports just 115 million pairs of footwear. Almost 95% of the production goes into meeting the domestic demand.
Nearly 15 percent of Europe’s leading brands outsource their footwear, apparel and fashion accessories purchases from India. India’s domestic footwear market is better than others around the world primarily because of abundant raw materials, low cost of production and a huge consumption market.
India’s major importers for Indian leather products:
The 10 countries mentioned above account for nearly 75.30% of India’s total leather products export.
More than half of the Indian footwear market comprises of gents’ footwear. This is contrary to the world wide trend. The world’s major production is in ladies footwear. Hence, in India there is immense scope in the women’s segment. In the unorganized sector, more than 80 percent of the sales happen in the men’s segment. However this is might change soon.
The footwear industry is extremely labor intensive- 90% of its production comes from SMEs (small and medium enterprises). There are in excess of 42,000 such SME units, there are primarily concentrated in two provinces – in Uttar Pradesh up north and in Tamil Nadu down south. They are also present in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Punjab. Agra, Ranipet, Kanpur, Ambur, Jodhpur and Kolhapur are also traditionally renowned centers of excellence in the production of leather and footwear.
In the last five years, footwear production in the country has increased by nearly 60%. Out of this, the rural areas consume 75% of the footwear production. It has become a necessity product there since till now, they have been majorly deprived of its usage.
The Footwear sector has now been de-licensed and de-reserved. This has paved the way for expansion of capacities on modern lines using state-of-the-art machinery. In order to assist this process further, the Government has permitted 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) through automatic route for footwear sector.
Categorization or classification of footwear
The Indian footwear market, in terms of quality offerings, has four main segments:
1. The super premium end- comprises the best of global luxury brands
2. The high-end or premium
3. The mid/economy ranges- comprises of formals, functional, casuals and party wear
4. The low-priced mass range- includes leather and plastic strapped slippers, as utility wear
Apart from this, the genuine active sportswear segment with different price ranges also exists.
The volume share of the economy/mid range has reduced. It was 61% in 2006-07. It has come down to 53%. The active sports-wear segment has increased its share from 7% to 9.6%. Premium leather and premium non-leather segments have both seen a rise from 7% and 3% in 2006-07 to 7.3% and 3.5% respectively in 2007-08. The super premium luxury segment has a 0.08% market share. In terms of sales value, this is a very significant number.
Also there are four major categories of footwear:
1. Sports footwear
2. Semi-formal or casual footwear
4. Utility footwear
The Indian footwear market mainly consists of casual wear. It occupies nearly two-thirds of the total footwear retail market. The other sub-segment that is doing well is the branded sportswear segment. It is estimated to be about Rs. 1,000 crore. The main players in this space consist of reebok, Adidas and Lotto. Compared to other segments, this segment is growing fast in terms of the number of outlets. Apart from footwear, these outlets also sell apparel.
Major players in Indian footwear industry
The top domestic and premium brands in India consist of:
1. Action – It has a pan Indian presence. It consists of multiple branded outlets (MBOs), 135 exclusive branded outlets (EBOs). It commands a total of 175,000 square feet retail space.
2. Bata – It is a household name in India. It was the brand that made branded footwear popular. Bata India Limited manufactures and markets various types of footwear, leather and footwear components. Apart from these, the company markets products related to footwear, garments, accessories, sports goods and other merchandise. Bata’s sub-brands consist of Dr Scholl’s, Hush puppies, Bubblegummer and Power. Till the first quarter of 2009, Bata India had 1,293 outlets. Bata India is currently looking to expand towards Tier I & Tier II cities.
3. Khadim’s – Currently, it has over 329 outlets. The area under it is approximately 148,000 square feet retail space. It is present in 22 cities across India.
4. Liberty – After Bata, it is arguably the most popular domestic brand. It is the only Indian company among the world’s top 5 leather footwear manufacturers. It has EBOs as Revolutions and Liberty. Revolutions provides footwear, travel accessories, watches, leather accessories, sun-glasses and jewellery Its sub-brands consist of Footfun, Force 10, Senorita, Gliders, Tiptopp, Windsor, Coolers, June, Warrior and Perfect. Liberty has 360 EBOs, 40 Shop-in-shops and 150 distributors. It services 6000 MBOs. The total retail space under it is 1.26 million square feet.
5. Metro, Mochi – These are two brands from Metro Shoes Ltd. They were launched in 1977 and 2000 respectively. It consists of over 85 EBOs and 76 MBOs. The retail space under it is 131,000 square feet. It is present in 32 cities.
6. Pavers England – It stated in India in early 2008. It was launched in Reliance stores. It is a Chennai based brand. It operates 40 MBOs.
7. Red Tape – This brand belongs to Mirza International. It was launched in 1996 in the domestic market. It started its exclusive retail operations in 2006. By end-2008 it had 10 company-owned EBOs, 50 franchise-owned EBOs and also 135 Shops-in-shops.
8. Sreeleathers – It was established in 1950. It is a very strong brand in Easten India. It has 5 company-owned EBOs and 28 franchise-owned EBOs.
9. Woodland – It is looking to enter the junior and kidswear segment. It is also looking at apparels business very optimistically. It hopes that this business will contribute to half of its total sales in India. It operates 250 EBOs in India.
10. Lilliput – It is a leading brand in kid’s footwear. By the end of 2008, it had 250 EBOs and also 100 shop-in shops.
11. M&B Footwear – It has 2 in-house brands, viz ID and Mercell. It has been operating for more than 21 years. It has tie-ups with brands like Lee Cooper. By the end of 2008, it had 32 EBOs and also 11 shop-in-shops.
International brands in India
1. Adidas – It is one of the biggest companies in the sports goods category. This nramd has acquired Reebok. It now consists of 3 brand divisions: Adidas, Taylormade-Adidas golf and Reebok. Adidas brand focuses on sports. It offers footwear, apparel and hardware in three divisions which include sport heritage, sport performance, and sport style.
The sport performance division focuses on the hardcore sports player.
The sport heritage division focuses on the casual sports man.
The sport style division focuses the fashion-conscious consumers.
The Reebok brand focuses more on style.
Adidas entered India in 1977. It operates more than 450 EBOs. It has 340,000 square feet retail space. It claims a 20% market share in the active sports segment.
2. Lotto – It currently has 10 flagship EBOs in India. It has plans to increase it to 100 by the end of 2010. It is present in 30 Indian cities.
3. Nike – It has 107 EBOs in India
4. Guess (Premium) – It was launched in 2005 by Planet Retail in India. It operates 19 EBOs and one shop-in-shop.
5. Carlton London (Premium) – It currently operates 10 EBOs. It has 50,000 square feet retail space in India. It is concentrated in North India. It has plans to open up new stores in metros and in Tier I cities.
1. Planet Sports – It has 39 outlets and a retail space of 73,000 square feet. It is present in 21 cities across India.
2. Provogue – It was launched in 2005. It consists of 55 EBOs and also 15 shop-in-shops.
3. Reliance Footprints – It is a division of Reliance Retail Ltd. It started its operations in 2007. It currently operates 14 MBOs. It offers global brands like Ecco, Geox, Josef Siebel, Rockport, Florsheim, Hush Puppies, Lee Cooper and Clarks, Piccadilly, Dr. Scholl’s, Levis, Crocs, Disney among others. Apart from these, it sells handbags as well as accessories.
4. Shoe Factory – It is a value format. It offers huge variety of footwear for a wide age groups. It started its operations in Ahmedabad in 2006. It is present in 16 locations and has a retails space of 48,000 square feet across 8 cities.
5. The Blues – It is an exclusive licensee of major global brands like Corneliani (2006), Versace Collection (2005), VJC Versace Jeans Couture (2008), Cadini (2005), Versace (2008). By the end of 2008, it had 6 franchised EBOs, 3 shop-in-shops and also one MBO.
Emergence of modern Indian retail
In 2007, the Indian retail sector stood at $350 billion. It was predicted to increase to $427 billion by 2010 and $635 billion by 2015 (Morierty, 2007).
Many Indian business houses are entering or have already entered this sector. The food and grocery sector is turning out to be a major contributer to this field. Even though it started slowly, it is now growing at a feverish pace.
The other forms of retail have also evolved consistently. With the huge business houses entering into this business, the field has become extremely competitive between them. This is one sector that is looking to explode in the near future.
Today, mega Indian business houses and corporate like the Future Group of Kishore Biyani (Food Bazaar), Reliance Group of Mukesh Ambani (Reliance Fresh & Reliance Hyper), ITC Ltd (Choupal Fresh & Choupal Saagar), Wadhawan Holdings (Spinach), RPG Group (Spencer’s Retail), the Aditya Birla Group (More), Subhiksha, the Godrej group (Nature’s Basket & Godrej Aadhar), J Raheja group (Hypercity), etc. are driving the forays into retail through different models like single-format, multi-format or integrated urban-rural model. (Sengupta, 2007)
However, the growth of the Indian retail space has been a long and ardous journey. Let us have a brief look at how the sector as a whole has evolved over the years.
It is popularly assumed that with the opening of the Indian economy in the early 1990s, the retail sector started opening up. This is when all the supermarkets and hypermarkets came into existence. However, the types of retail formats have existed in India since 1970s.
In 1971, Nilgiris was set up in Bangalore. It was what one could popularly refer to as the ‘face of modern Indian retail.’ It was a supermarket. Since then, a lot of other business houses/ entrepreneurs have entered this sector. A few went national while a majority of them were restricted to a local scale. Popular among them were Trinetra from Hyderabad (now part of the Aditya Birla Group), Foodworld from Chennai, Margin Free from Kerala among others. A few others like Stop & Shop from the TVS group in South India and Nanz in North India have shut down.
In 1947, when India got independence, the per capita income was very low. People could not really afford any type of luxuries. Majority of them managed to live by getting their basic necessities. The main type of retail format prominent during those days was the mom-and-pop (kirana stores). They were run by individuals. The other format was the Bazaar. This trend continued up to the 1960s. Even post that, when supermarkets like Nilgiris opened up, the trend continued (Sengupta, 2007).
It was during the 1990s and 2000s that this trend gradually changed. The growth story of the modern retail format in India is the early part of this millennium can be divided into 4 phases.
This phase is characterised between 2002 and 2004. Lots of new entrants into the market were driving the top line growth.
This phase is characterised between 2004 and 2006. The consumers were getting more and more aware of the possibilities that this retail growth could mean for them. They started demanding more and more variety in the organized retail formats.
Post 2006, the retailers realized that in order to distinguish themselves, they would have to strengthen their back-end activities. The front end of almost all retail outlets were more or less the same. The thing that distinguished them from the rest were activities like inventory control, turnover time etc.
This phase has been in progress since 2007. The retail players are in the process of consolidating their operations.
Organized retail is moving from being a ‘novel’ experiment to an expected back-end innovation and scale build up (Srivastava, 2009).
Indian retail story
First some facts (Srivastava, 2009):
* The retail industry employs almost 21 million people
* The Kearney study undertaken in 2006, ranked India 5th among 30 developing countries in the Global Retail Development Index
* The study projects that India will overtake Russia and China to become the number one destination for foreign direct investment in retail
India has over 12 million retail outlets. Out of this, about 95% of the outlets are less than 500 square feet (Srivastava, 2009).
If we compare Indian retail with other countries, we see that the number of traditional retail outlets is still very huge.
In 2005, US had about 15% traditional retail outlets and 85% organized retail outlets. India had 97% traditional outlets and only 3% organized retail outlets (Srivastava, 2009).
The organized retail in India is still at a very nascent stage. The opportunity for growth is enormous.
Even though speciality stores in India are gaining prominence, almost 90% of all future retail development is predicted to be malls. The Indian consumer wants everything in the same place.
One more trend that is being seeing is the marriage of retail and entertainment. Lots of multiplexes are opening up at malls. In fact, this seems to be the future trend. Sand alone places might not attract the crowd that such mergers could. Also, facilities like book stores, coffee shops, food courts etc. are being developed at these places.
The major distinguishing factor of malls in India is that they have a mix of high-value items as well as mass branded items at the same place. In comparison, other countries have speciality malls. They either are of the high-value kind boutiques or the mass category.
India has the highest shop density in the world. It has about 11 shops per 1000 people. This adds to one shop per 20-25 families (Srivastava, 2009). However in cities, this density is much higher.
If we look at the money spent on various facilities, the urban-rural difference becomes very evident. About 33% of entertainment spends come from rural areas as opposed to 67% from urban areas. As opposed to this, when we talk about more basic necessities like food, clothing and footwear, over 60% comes from rural areas.
If we look at the share of the various things that are sold in the organized retail, we find that apparels and accessories is the maximum at 38%, footwear is at 9%, while others like mobile phones, books etc. are at 3% each (Srivastava, 2009).
Both traditional as well regional retails constitute footwear retail market space. Along with these, new players like The Loft and factory outlets also constitute this space. These are category killers. The Loft offers over 130 brands, all under the same roof. It has completely revolutionarized the industry. In Mumbai, The Loft store has an area of 18,000 sq feet and also offers other services to the customers enhancing their experience. Factory outlets have also changed the industry. Pantaloon Retail’s Brand Factory, Reliance Footprints, Max Retail of the Landmark Group, and The Loot, are all offering a multiple footwear brands.
This format of stores has seen a huge growth in India. Most of the stores in this format are making money. The costumers find it very comfortable as they can get almost all their daily necessities like food, clothing, shoes, utensils, home appliances, durables etc. under one roof. It is like a one stop shop for all necessities.
2) Departmental Store
Similar to hypermarkets, these shops also offer all the requirements under one roof. The difference is that these outlets have a more luxurious setting. The Indian consumer likes the idea of shopping in a better way with entertainment, novelty, variety and an international setting, all under one roof.
3) Single brand/ Stand Alone Outlet
As the name suggests, these outlets consist of only one brand. They are generally run by the brand itself or are run as franchisee. The consumers do not have much choice here in terms of the number of brands but, generally, most of the variety of items, even the rare ones, of the brand are present here.
4) Multi-Branded Outlet
A huge variety of brands are present here. The consumer has a wide array of brands to choose from. The only drawback of such outlets is that only the popular items of a brand are present here. So if a consumer has a very specific requirement, he/ she might not be able to find the item here.
5) Factory Outlet
A factory outlet is a retail store where the manufacturer sells his brand directly to the customer. The store might have a warehouse attached to it. The biggest advantage of such stores is that there are no middle men. Hence the end customers get the brands at a very low cost. They are also called ‘Best Saving Outlets.’
AT Kearney’s eigth annual GRDI (Global Retail Development Index) in 2009 ranked the Indian retail sector as the ‘most attractive emerging market for investment.’ Indian retail market is the fifth largest retail destination globally.
In the footwear retail market, only 5.9 percent of India’s total retail market is organized. This comes to Rs. 13,300 billion. The total footwear retail market stands at Rs. 160 billion. Out of this, 48.4% of the footwear retail market is organized and is dominated by brands. The Indian Retail report of the year 2009 maps the growth of the organized retail since 2004. The findings indicate that compared to the other retail categories, footwear category has grown at a much faster pace. In 2004-05, only 25% of the footwear retail sector was organized. In 2009, it grew to 48.4%. The overall retail market share in the organized sector has only increased from 3% to 5.9% in the corresponding time frame.
The performance of the footwear market is forecasted to accelerate with an anticipated CAGR of 10.2% for the five-year period 2008-2013. This is expected to drive the market to a value of $5,791.4 million by the end of 2013. Comparatively, the Chinese market will increase with a CAGR of 8.3%. (Singh, 2009)
The organized retail sector is also seeing many changes. This sector occupies about 5% of Indian retail market. Large format stores and branded retail stores are coming up. This trend was first seen in South India and now in North India, West India and East India in the next couple of years. The retail sector is also opening its operations in Tier II cities like Gurgaon, Noida, Kochi etc. A market research report ‘Booming Retail Sector in India’ predicts that Indian organoized retail sector will reach US$ 50 billion by 2011. This study was carried out by RNCOS. The number of shopping malls is also set to increase between 2007 and 2015 by a CAGR of 18.9%.
The Indian consumer
On the World Map, India is placed 5th in the list of consumer markets of the world. Improved communication systems and the exposure to popular international brands has brought about a huge difference in the cities. People have become more indulgent. They want to acquire more and have also become very ambitious.
According to a McKinsey report, the size of the Indian consumer market is expected to grow 4 times by 2025. This report is aptly titled ‘The rise of Indian Consumer Market.’ The youth population in India is huge. 33% are below 15 years of age. The consumer spending has increased as the disposable income among the youth has increased. The consumer spending in India has increased by 75% in the last 4 years. The share of wallet for products like footwear, clothes, transport, entertainment, education, medical services, housing and renting etc. has increased significantly.
In fact, the Indian middle class has also started consuming luxury goods like air-conditioners and cars. The Indian demographic profile is changing rapidly. The upper class is growing much quicker than the lower class. The ‘deprived’ class is shrinking. The middle class is expected to touch 28 million by 2010. One third of the total middle class population will be from the rural areas.
Lifestyle category goods are expected to be the future. With the increasing number of working women and fashion conscious males, they will look for a better quality of life. The Nielsen Retail Index 2007 reveled that consumers are switching to branded products. Also due to impulse buying by young consumers with disposable income, brands like Reebok and Adidas saw their semi-urban and rural sales increase by more than 70%.
According to Kishore Biyani (Biyani, 2007), the typical Indian consumer can be classified as follows:
The serving class consists of 55% of the population. This indicates that the retail outlets should target this group as well instead of mainly targeting the consumer class, which consists of only 14% of the population, as it currently does (Tripathi).
Indian footwear consumer
The basic understanding of fashion and change in consumer perceptions has given a huge boost to the footwear industry. There is more exposure for Indians due to global travel and media penetration. The new retailing formats and distribution systems have capitalized on this. Branded footwear from overseas has become popular. Of course, the cost for the consumer is still a concern, due to which even the international brands have had to bring down their prices drastically in order to achieve break-even sales.
Comfort is very essential for the Indian footwear consumer. The branded and organized sector has taken advantage of this. However, the awareness about more specialized products like performance enhancing and fitness assisting is still very low in India compared to other South East Asian countries. This could increase with time. Also, the young working population is seeing a shift in preference to international trends and lifestyles.
One more fact is that women buyers buy more frequently compared to their male counterparts. About 29% women go shopping at least once every quarter. Men account for about 19% of the total purchases of that segment (Indian Retail Report, 2009).
As per a study on how consumers divide their wallet spends, about 44% of the urban Nupscale (short for Nielsen Upscale, based on the usage of 12 consumer durable products by the consumers’ households) buy men’s footwear. 41% buy women’s footwear. The average annual spend on the products is Rs. 2318 and Rs. 1336 respectively. This study was conducted by Images- AC Neilsen.
Women had a role to play in the purchase of men’s footwear (26% women to 56% men). Men had a bigger role to play in purchase of women’s footwear (34% males to 51% females). Men spent more lavishly on footwear irrespective of whether they were buying for themselves or others or gifting. Males spend on an average Rs 2,459 in a typical year on purchase of men’s footwear and Rs 1,428 on purchase of women’s footwear. Comparatively, women spend on an average Rs 1,875 on men’s footwear and Rs 1,265 on women’s footwear in a typical year (Indian Retail Report, 2009).
‘Shopping Orientation in the Evolving Indian Market’, a research article by Piyush Kumar Sinha, attempted to understand shoppers from their disposition towards shopping. This was very useful because it has been noted that the differences between retailers are not really significant in terms of the value they deliver. The study managed to bring out the shopping orientation of the Indian shoppers. It said that emotional value matters more than the functional value while shopping. They are also more oriented towards the entertainment value. Based on this orientation, 300 shoppers were divided into 2 segments: Fun shoppers and Work shoppers. These two segments had different demographic and behavioral profile. This orientation was primarily affected by the frequency of buying, type of store, and to some extent by the SEC (socio-economic classification). These findings were finally used in order to draw implications for store format, merchandising and pricing (Sinha, 2003).
‘A Typology of Apparel Shopping Orientation Segments among Female Consumers’, segmented female apparel shoppers into unique apparel shopping orientation groups. It then developed a profile for each segment by taking into consideration the information sources, lifestyle activities, importance of store attributes, demographics and patronage behavior. Then by using cluster analysis of apparel shopping orientation factors, three groups were identified:
1) Highly Involved Apparel Shopper
2) Apathetic Apparel Shopper
3) Convenience-Oriented Catalog Shopper
They were further compared through MANOVA (multivariate analysis of variance) and chi-square statistics. The results indicated that shopping orientations are a base for segmenting female apparel shoppers. These groups are unique in consumer buying characteristics.
* 3 factors of information sources (Fashion Publications, Store Fashion Service/Promotion and Mass Media)
* 5 factors of importance of store attrib
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