Woodland hopeful of sales recovery within two months

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on June 11, 2021

Set for phase-wise reopening of retail stores

Footwear and apparel company, Woodland, is hopeful of sales recovery over the next 30-60 days as it is set for phase-wise reopening of retail stores with consumer sentiments witnessing a possible uptick.

“The Q1FY22 sales (April to June) have not been a washout like last year, and are at 20-30 per cent of pre-Covid levels,” says Harkirat Singh, MD, Aero Club (the owners of Woodland). But regional lockdowns, odd-even days of store opening and shorter duration of shop operations have come in the way of buyer sentiments improving, he said.

Online sales pick up

Online sales increased by 15 - 20 per cent of total sales of Woodland. With 500-odd company-owned stores, offline retail continues to be the major revenue driver for the brand.

“Online sales are mostly happening as stores continue to remain closed. Trends suggest a demand for athleisure, sandals and chappals, among others,” Singh told BusinessLine.

“Right now reopening of retail stores in happening in some places like Delhi . People are coming out of their homes. But not many are buying. Sentiments need to pick up. Maybe it will be another one or two months before we see recoveries happening on the retail front,” he added.

Also read: Online focus, product rejig help Woodland address pandemic disruptions

Athleisure, fitness wear and lounge wear have been relatively faster moving items since the pandemic hit last year. In line with the trends, the company is increasing its presence in these segments, by adding new items like track pants, lounge shorts, active wear T-shirts to its core online portfolio of shoes, casual wear and jackets.

Selling prices drop

With e-commerce driving numbers, average selling prices are down 20-25 per cent to ₹1500, from around ₹2000.

End of season sales in July and online sale events are expected to be a pre-cursor to consumer sentiments. “Summer items are generally lower priced than winter ones such as jackets, boots or outdoor apparels. Neither is travel happening nor big events. Moreover, the current trend is skewed towards athleisure segment which are a bit lower priced,” Singh explained.

Woodland has again begun discussions with landlords and mall management on rent renegotiations. Last fiscal, renegotiations saw a 20-30 decline in rental expenses.

For FY21, the company is expected to report a turnover of ₹ 650-700 crore. “Last year, stores were closed for nearly 6-7 months, and even online sales were not allowed. Topline was severely hit," he said.

It has decided not to opt for new store additions, until “a clarity emerges” on the retail front in a post-pandemic new normal. The company says that there are no immediate plans to expand in Tier-II or Tier-II markets through own stores “unless a strong business model emerges.” These markets will continue to be "serviced" through "distributor channels", e-commerce & franchisees.

Published on June 11, 2021

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