Wills Lifestyle to increase store count

Friday, 12 November 2010

Wills Lifestyle, India’s premium apparel brand and the name behind India’s most celebrated annual fashion event, is all set to spread its fashion and lifestyle footprint across India. It plans to add 30 Wills Lifestyle outlets by June 2011. Currently, it operates 70 retail outlets in India, most of them being in the metros and larger cities. The company plans to focus on small cities such as Amritsar, Jalandhar, Bhopal, Aurangabad, Guwahati and Indore, among others in this phase of its expansion. They are also opening Wills Lifestyle boutique stores in ITC-operated five-star hotels to cater to the super-premium customers. With a distinctive presence across segments at the premium end, ITC has also established John Players as a brand that offers a complete fashion wardrobe to today’s young men. With its brands, ITC is committed to build a dominant presence in the apparel market through a robust portfolio of offerings.

Atul Chand, divisional chief executive, Lifestyle Retailing Division of ITC says they had to slow down their expansion plans as many retail properties, especially malls, were delayed during 2008-09, due to the economic slowdown. Now that these properties are nearing completion they have resumed their store expansion plans. Chand feels with rising aspirations, there has been a robust demand for quality apparel products in smaller cities and the company is keen on capitalizing on it. On an average a Wills Lifestyle store is spread over 2,000 to 3,000 sq. ft, creating a sense of premium shopping experience. Apart from company-owned stores, ITC is also looking at the franchisee mode for new stores as the franchisees are expected to lower the gestation period for new stores. They expect around 20 per cent sales growth during the next year.