Flipkart Group has made a strategic investment in USPL, a premium youth-focused fashion brand house, as the e-commerce firm strengthens its fashion portfolio. Through this investment, the Flipkart Group will work closely with the USPL team to deepen product offerings on its platforms.
This is a Series F funding for USPL from the Flipkart Group along with participation from existing investor Accel Partners. However, the companies did not reveal the financial details of the transaction.
“It is our constant endeavour to offer our customers a wide range of products that meet their sensibilities. USPL’s unique brands, backed by celebrity endorsements, have a strong appeal for the young fashion-driven Indian consumer,” Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart Group. “This investment will help USPL and the Flipkart Group find deeper synergies as we continue on our commitment to grow an ecosystem of partnerships that deliver value for consumers and brands,” he said.
This investment will significantly step-up the online strategy of USPL by strengthening the existing long-standing engagement between USPL and Flipkart Group.
USPL has built a portfolio of premier youth-focused fashion brands that uniquely cater to the sensibilities, design and fitment needs for the young Indian. Wrogn, USPL’s flagship brand, is one of the fastest-growing men’s casual wear brands in India at scale and has been amongst the leading brands on fashion retailer Myntra over the last few years. USPL brands are also present in more than 750 offline retail outlets in over 100 cities across India - demonstrating a strong presence in both online and offline channels. USPL has been growing at 40-50 per cent year-on-year.
“The last few months have provided a great opportunity for us to consolidate our market leadership among homegrown brands catering to the youth and expand our market share,” said Anjana Reddy, founder and CEO, USPL.
She said the recovery amid the pandemic has been great for the company and as it is at 80 per cent of pre-Covid sales.
“During the time when the world is moving towards omni-channel retailing, we can significantly strengthen our online strategy by working with Flipkart and Myntra, the two prominent players in the Indian online fashion space,” said Reddy.
Mahendran Balachandran, partner, Accel India said that USPL has displayed a top-notch pandemic response by quickly pivoting the channel mix leveraging strong digital capabilities. “Our faith in USPL has been validated with this new investment,” said Balachandran. "This transaction reflects strong synergy potential between USPL and Flipkart Group," he said.
Flipkart is eyeing strategic stakes in multiple small, regional as well as large retailers in India as the e-commerce giant looks to tap the offline retail opportunity in the country. The Walmart-owned firm is in a race with rivals Amazon and Reliance’s JioMart, who are also following a similar strategy and are in talks with multiple Indian offline retailers to buy strategic stakes.
Last month, Flipkart Group and Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited (ABFRL) formed a new strategic partnership aimed at enhancing the consumer fashion experience. Through an investment of Rs 1,500 crore, Flipkart Investments will acquire about 7.8 per cent stake in ABFRL.In July this year, Flipkart Group invested Rs 260 crore for a significant minority stake in retailer Arvind Fashions’ (AFL) recently formed subsidiary Arvind Youth Brands, which owns the Flying Machine brand.