If you were planning to drop into one of Myntra’s brick-and-mortar store and pick up a fashionable sweater for this winter, hold on for a while. The online company has put its plan to open 100 franchise stores across the country on hold for now.
Myntra, which was planning to open the stores even two months back, has decided to concentrate on the online business, what with internal reorganisation, exits from the leadership team, and layoffs as part of a merger with Jabong,
It already has 15 stores across the country — 12 under the Mango brand, which it manages; and three are Roadster.
Sources said Walmart, which owns 80 per cent of Myntra’s and Jabong’s parent Flipkart, has put brakes on the offline enterprise.
“Over the past few months, there have been several high-profile exits at Myntra, including its chief strategy officer and head of categories, Ananya Tripathi. The process of integrating with Jabong is also being completed,” said a source close to the company. “So an expansion into offline is a little difficult now.”
Myntra was slated to open stores at shopping malls in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Kolkata, and Hyderabad among others by the end of this year. Sources in the company said 15 stores selling Myntra’s private labels were also supposed to open by end-December.
“Senior Walmart executives, however, have advised against it. They want to concentrate on online, and consolidate Flipkart’s leadership position in India,” said a source, adding that splurging on offline stores might not go down well with investors.
However, a Myntra spokesperson, refusing to confirm this, said the company’s omni-channel strategy was on course. “Myntra continues to move forward in its strategic direction, including omnichannel (through franchise partners) according to a plan with the full support of the leadership and board,” the company said, replied to questions sent to it.
Sources in Myntra said till two months back, the company was looking for spaces as large as 10,000-20,000 square feet. In August, it acquired Pretr, a Mumbai-based end-to-end omni-channel platform for retail.
The road, however, has not been very smooth. About 200 Jabong employees have been asked to pack up and another 150 have put in their papers. Jabong, too, has cut down operations in Gurugram and is working with a skeleton staff.
“Walmart has been working closely with Flipkart to reduce redundancies where ever possible. They zeroed in on Jabong almost immediately after they bought Flipkart. Their logic is that one does not need a separate portal to sell premium brands. Myntra is good enough to handle both,” said a source close to the firm.