Wills Lifestyle aims at cracking a century

A model displays creations by Nida Mahmood during the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Tuesday. AFP

And the focus is South India. “The southern region is our key focus area. Premier products were not so widely available in the South. We want to correct it. A total of 20 out of the 70 of our stores are in the South. While we have four in Bangalore, the fifth is being opened shortly. Focus is also on Tier II cities in the region. These cities are buzzing with activity”.

Disclosing this to Deccan Herald on the sidelines of the IFW, Atul Chand, divisional chief executive, Lifestyle Retailing Business Division, ITC Limited, said new stalls were being opened in malls, new market places as well in ITC hotels. “We scaled up rapidly in the last one year thanks to the market boom and spending capacity of the people. We were 50 at the beginning of the year and grew to 70 now. We have opened boutiques in the ITC hotels in leading cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Agra etc and shortly opening one in Chennai”.  “Lifestyle has tied up with designers who are making special collections for us and whom we are showcasing in our stores. They otherwise have no greater access to reach out to customers”, says Chand.

Chand says the Wills Lifestyle, being title sponsor, was “bringing together Indian designers from all parts of the country to showcase their creativity, either at stalls or shows. It is for buyers, both international and domestic. We provide the insight the consumer have, what they are looking for. So it is not just sponsorship”.

While the company at the moment wants to focus on domestic market and not exports, it has tied up with the Milan Designer House for international collection for women. “The idea is to give wide choice for consumer, mainly women”, he added, saying, “we want to enhance premium brand and those of aspirational value by making it super-premium brand”.
“We want to expand the number of designers, especially for women-wear. Now 20 per cent of our products are designer-made. Almost 35 per cent of sale at Wills Lifestyle is women’s wear - western and fusion though 50 per cent of the shoppers are women”.

Lifestyle is also providing opportunity to young designers by holding events such as Debut in places like Bangalore and allowing them to exchange ideas by working with leading designers. The Indian fashion industry is growing leaps and bonds.  The fashion retail market is now a Rs 20,000-crore industry of which the premium segment is worth Rs 2,000-3,000 crore.

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