A western look!

Retailers and apparel brands are expanding their presence in the booming western womenswear segment.
A ‘western’ look

The western women’s-wear market, with annual sales of nearly Rs 8,000 crore, is increasingly becoming the focus of leading apparel brands and retailers as sales in this category are growing at more than 20 per cent per annum. To leverage this opportunity, recent entrants include Van Heusen, a part of Aditya Birla Nuvo, while existing players are expanding their repertoire. 

Van Heusen, which specialises in men’s fashion, has started offering western women’s-wear products online and also plans to set up at least 10 standalone stores, shortly. In addition, the Aditya Birla group has also launched a fusion and western wear label – ‘Liva’ a few months earlier.

 And, with women expected to account for more than one-third of the $ 8 billion sales in the e-retail industry by ‘16, according to Accel Partners, the UK-based brand Miss Selfridges recently entered India via its online operations.

Highlighting the growth potential, Kabir Lumba,Managing Director, Lifestyle International, said, “The western women’s- wear segment is growing much faster than menswear.” Lumba also stressed that the entry of several organised retailers in this category has contributed to the above trend.

Similarly, Marks & Spencer, in a recent media statement highlighted that this segment is emerging as one of their key growth drivers over the long-run.

Brands’ upgrade offerings

Brands are also attempting to upgrade their offerings for this segment, at a time when women’s needs are getting more sophisticated. Fashion consultants also stressed that it is not just working women who are purchasing these products, but students and housewives are also emerging as a key target audience.

As a result, Westside has revamped its women’s-wear range and launched the ‘Wardrobe’ collection. Uma Talreja, Head – Marketing at Westside, pointed out that consumers in this segment are increasingly searching for products that are relevant for work as well as evening wear.  

 Similarly, fashion retailer Fabindia has revamped its offering to include more western wear in its portfolio, while players like Zara, Forever 21 and Elle are expanding their distribution network across the country.

In a recent media interaction, William Bissell, MD of Fabindia stressed that ethnic wear is no longer the norm for consumers in middle and higher income brackets.

And, in a bid to get a presence across the country, Forever 21 would expand its retail network to 35 outlets involving a capex of nearly $ 50 million ( approximately Rs 300 crore) while Zara is expanding its existing chain of 10 stores, by shortly expanding to Mohali, Punjab.

Clearly, retailers are focused on carving a larger share in the booming western women’s-wear segment. 

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