Fashion retailer Lifestyle to expand online presence


Dubai’s Landmark Group-owned apparel retailer Lifestyle plans to expand its online presence even as e-tailers encroach into the fashion space.

While offline expansion will continue with the company adding 12-14 new stores every year at a cost of ₹100-150 crore, investments in online will focus on improving customer experience and ramping up the omni-channel strategy.

E-commerce is now the source of less than 2 per cent of Lifestyle’s sales. The company entered the space some two years back.

According to Srinivas Rao, Senior Vice-President, Marketing, Lifestyle will invest ₹10-12 crore this year towards an omni-channel ramp-up.

“We are going to invest further in the omni-channel this year. We entered the segment some two years back and have seen good traction. While online sales may by sub-2 per cent of our turnover, we feel it has the scope to touch double digit,” he told BusinessLine.

Click-and-collect

All 73 of Lifestyle’s store offer a ‘click-and-collect’ facility (one can order online and collect the item from a nearby store).

Competitors such as Shoppers Stop, too, are ramping up their omni-channel strategy by integrating online sales and brick-and-mortar markets.

On the other hand, pure-play e-tailers like Amazon and Myntra are focussing on their offline presence.

Amazon recently picked up a 5 per cent stake in Shoppers Stop which will help it tap into India’s offline market. The two companies have also signed an agreement under which Amazon Experience Centres will be opened across Shoppers Stop stores.

Myntra is also looking at experience stores too (offline kiosk formats), sources say.

Incidentally, the apparel industry has seen muted sales growth during the first quarter (ending June) this fiscal with major players like Shoppers Stop reporting 1.2 per cent growth.

Lifestyle claims to have reported “low single digit” sales growth. Rao pointed out that the GST rollout in Q1 of FY18 led to advancing of end-of-season sales. This led to higher footfalls with many customers moving their shopping to the Q1 of last fiscal.

“We hope to have close to 20 per cent growth this fiscal,” he added.

Focus on North-East

Meanwhile, Lifestyle will also look to focus on the fashion-conscious North-East markets. However, its strategy for the region will revolve around establishing the mother brand ‘Lifestyle’ both offline and online, and availability of real estate.

The company is targeting its first store in the region — Guwahati — by the end of this fiscal. “Once the store is set up we will work on a marketing strategy there to establish the mother brand and, through it, our private labels,” Rao said.

Apart from regular brands like US Polo Association, United Colors of Benetton, Aeropostle and Levis, Lifestyle has its own private labels like Code, Ginger, Melange, Forca and Fame Forever. Some of the exclusive brands that it stocks include Kappa, Bossini and UCLA.

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