ITC’s lifestyle retailing business has decided to take on the e-commerce threat with a two-pronged omni-channel strategy. “In the branded apparel market in India, consumers have always opted for multiple channels for shopping, depending on their specific needs and preferences, IT’s lifestyle retailing business has undertaken a wide range of initiatives proactively to address the growth in digital commerce and the ability of consumers to shop online,” said Atul Chand, chief executive, Lifestyle Retailing Business Division, ITC Ltd.
While ITC-owned Wills Lifestyle has decided to launch different product lines for the e-commerce channels and increasing digital footprint, at the same time, increase the footprint of the stores with enhanced product lines. “Our extremely successful partnership with leading fashion online retailers has led us to identify and customise products to the channel-specific consumer needs and create unique product lines and experiment with new concepts that are aligned to the consumer engagement requirements of the e-commerce space,” he said.
Wills Lifestyle is also present through its online portal, apart from selling through prominent e-commerce sites like Jabong, Myntra and Flipkart. While e-commerce remains a focus for the company, it will continue to boost its retail presence. “We will continue to aggressively invest in our retail environment to increase our physical store footprint is being expanded across geographies, channels, formats and towns,” Chand said.
ITC plans to launch 25 new Wills Lifestyle stores and 100 new John Players stores with a focus on the tier-2 markets. At present, the company has nearly 100 exclusive stores in 40 cities. ITC Ltd does not disclose revenue of the lifestyle retailing business separately. However, the retail business is already generating profit for the company and is providing significant impetus to the non-cigarette FMCG business profitability along with the packaged food business, which is the main driver. Most of the traditional retail houses are experimenting with the e-commerce model.
RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani told shareholders at the company’s AGM earlier this month that Reliance Retail is planning its “next phase of building a high-growth trajectory supported by e-commerce and larger geographic coverage”. The Aditya Birla group, also spotting opportunity in e-commerce, got online grocer Zop Now as its technology partner recently. The group might go beyond food and grocery, too.