Wills Lifestyle, the premium apparel brand of conglomerate ITC Ltd, is spreading its retail footprint across the country with plans to add 30 stores by the middle of next year.
The company plans to focus on small cities such as Amritsar, Jalandhar, Bhopal, Aurangabad, Guwahati and Indore, among others in this phase of its expansion. The brand currently operates 70 retail stores in the country.
“We had to slow down our expansion plans as many retail properties (malls) were delayed during 2008 and 2009 due to the economic slowdown,” Atul Chand, divisional chief executive, Lifestyle Retailing Division of ITC told HT. “Now that these properties are nearing completion we have resumed our store expansion plans.”
With rising aspiration, there has been a robust demand for quality apparel products in smaller cities, he said, and the company is keen to capitalise on this.
A Wills Lifestyle store is spread over 2,000 to 3,000 sq ft. Apart from company-owned stores, ITC is also looking at the franchisee mode for new stores. “The franchisees will lower our gestation period for new stores,” Chand said.
He said the company expects around 20% sales growth during the next year. “In the wake of renewed demand we witnessed around 15% annual sales growth during September and October this year and expect this momentum to continue,” he said.
The company is also opening Wills Lifestyle boutique stores in ITC-operated five-star hotels to cater to super-premium customers, he said.