Wills Lifestyle sews up growth in niche segments

Bindu D. Menon New Delhi | Updated on April 11, 2011

Wills Lifestyle showroom in Secunderabad. (file photo): A Roy Chowdhury   -  Business Line

Wills Lifestyle, ITC's apparel retailing arm, has said niche segments are growing into bigger portfolios for it. The company said it is experimenting with various formats to tap the growth in each of the micro categories such as women's formals and men's exclusive boutiques.

“Smaller sub-segments are becoming big. Segmentation of wardrobes to suit the occasion is creating these categories. Women's formals, for instance, grew to 35 per cent from a mere 20 per cent share in less than five years. This helps us in developing strategy according to market needs,” Mr Atul Chand, Divisional Chief Executive - ITC's Lifestyle Retailing, told Business Line.

He said the company was experimenting with formats such as men's standalone boutiques and high-end luxury formats operating out of hotels. “There is a demand for Rs 5,000-plus shirts as aspirations grow.”

To keep pace with this demand, Wills Lifestyle is working on creating brands that are more trendy and have a shorter fashion cycle. “The cycles are much shorter and our range has gone up by about 25 per cent. The entire range is built around fashion. Currently, we do about six cycles as against two or three a few years ago,” Mr Chand said.

He said the average ticket size has moved up from 1.5 garments to nearly 2.2 garments per individual. Wills Lifestyle has about 75 stores pan-India. The company is looking to add another 25 by the end of the current fiscal. “We will be making our presence stronger in southern India, both through our own stores and also by expanding through the franchise route.”

Speaking on its ramp-to-rack initiatives, Mr Chand said the association with top designers has helped it create signature lines. “The response to our designer collection has been huge with 15 per cent of sales coming from the signature lines. Going forward, we will have 9-10 designers associated with our brand so as to give our customers affordable designer wear.”

Asked if there will be a rise in prices owing to higher input costs and excise duty on branded garments, Mr Chand said prices could move up by 6-8 per cent. “The impact could be assessed after May. But there has to be a 6-8 per cent rise in prices.”

Published on April 11, 2011

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