Biyani attempts 'Big' with Cover Story!

Hardly eight month old brand has four stand alone stores and is also present within 35 Future Group owned brand Central. The total footprint of 39 is spread across 18 cities pan India.
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Cover Story, a fast fashion brand by Kishore Biyani’s Future Style Lab, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Future Group had opened its first store in June last year. The brand operates in fast fashion category and was launched with an aim to compete with global brands like ZARA and H&M with its unique positioning.

The brand is heavily inspired by international trends, catwalks and Instagram. The brands follows global fashion trends closely and filter them as per the Indian audience.  The brand offer merchandise which is more suitable in Indian context. Speaking exclusively with, Manjula Tiwari, CEO Future Style Lab at Future Group said, “We do the dresses that enhance the Indian figure. We choose the color that suits our skin tone. We choose the fabric that works in Indian weather.”

Tiwari feels that ‘Cover Story’ has an advantage over other global brands as their offerings are not unique to Indian audiences. Being the global brands they cannot make exceptions to in order to be better fitted with Indian consumers. Being indigenous brand we have the liberty to become more India- specific.

“Being an Indian brand we understand Indian surroundings better to them.  For example, it’s warm in Chennai and Mumbai right now, but in North India it is the coldest month.  We are uniquely placed to understand the difference; obviously, we will not fill our store with sweaters and jackets in Chennai, because we understand what Chennai weather is like,” she said.

 Cover Story has its own design team which operates from London and back home in India its buying team which closely observes latest trends in global fashion market.  The brand is targeted to young audience aged between 23 to 28.  The price range of the brand starts from Rs790 and exit price point is Rs 5000.

Hardly eight month old brand has four stand alone stores and is also present within 35 Future Group owned brand ‘Central’. The total footprint of 39 is spread across 18 cities pan India. The average size of its stand alone is 1500 sq.ft , and only present at mall locations.  “Encouraged with the tremendous response only in metro but small towns as well, now the shift is on flagship stores which will be 3000 sq. ft.. in size and would mainly present in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangaluru,” Tiwari shared.

The brand would be looking to open new stand-alosne store in cities including Chennai, Cochin and Bangaluru. “We are going to launch 15 new stores in next 4-5 months,” Tiwari informed.

The brand may also explore the sub franchising option in future for further brand expansion.  The minimum investment for  Cover Story store is 40 lakhs.

Presently, the brand is operating mainly apparel, footwear and hand bags categories and may explore jewellery in near future.  Alike to any global fashion brand Cover Story refreshes its offerings very quickly. “We change very fast, so our merchandise changes every week.  We do very extended and wide range of SKUs to our stores,” said Tiwari.  The brand is also looking to expand its accessory category shortly.  

The brand receives huge part of sales come from the dresses.  Tiwari feels that there is a lot of opportunities in bottom wear and lighter weight blazers, jackets which are feminine and suited to Indian weather conditions.  The brand will also focus above mentioned categories along with its top seller category.

Speaking on footfall Tiwari said, “It is very difficult to get the footfall of Central store. However, our standalone stores are getting daily walk-ins of 150 to 200 people.”

The company is tied-up with Myntra to explore e-commerce, though the company has plans to have its own e-store in near future.  On technology side, the company has installed touch screens to its stores and working towards creating omni-channel kind of effect to its physical stores.

Presently, the brand is only retailing women wear category but in time to come the brand can explore Men’s and kids’ categories as well.  Tiwari said, “There is an underlying opportunity with men and kid categories. Of course, we would be keen to  explore it. But, for next 12 month our focus will be on women category only.”

“First year was more like pilot run for us to test our products , now after  looking at reactions  which is extremely encouraging,  we are  working towards on customer fulfillment  and going to now scaling up the capacity increase the store-count,”  added Tiwari. 

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