We dont see much impact of GST: Harkirat Singh, Woodland

In an exclusive conversation with Harkirat Singh, MD, Woodland explains how the brand the gearing up to implement the upcoming GST.
We don’t see much impact of GST: Harkirat Singh, Woodland

How Woodland is gearing up for upcoming GST? Will the consumers see revised MRP or special discount due to GST in coming days?

Yes, the GST is going to bring a big change. We had been given almost six months of time to prepare as per the new tax regime. We are more or less ready. Definitely, it is a simpler way of paying taxes and will be very helpful for the business. We have changed our ERP system accordingly. However,  it will take two three weeks after GST implementation to get in normal shape. We fall under 18% category as most of our products (footwear) are priced above Rs 2000. Through the new system will require a little extra taxation, but same time it also allow lot of input tax that will credit on later. Ultimately, the difference would not be too much from the existing credit system under which we are paying taxes currently.

We won’t be increasing prices right away unless there is a major problem of pricing.  More or less we would be sticking on current MRP neither there would be any discounting due to GST. Our end of season sale starts from end of June. This year too it would be usual.   

How do you see the leather category will be impacted due to GST?

GST slab for leather goods is fixed at 28%. Even there we don’t see any major impact. The only thing is, the overall implementation of GST will take time as there would be so many new things. We are taking the help of a lot of agencies which are trained to equip the people with new regime. Our human resource is constantly under training to keep up the accounts as per the new tax law. I think, it will hardly take us hardly 10 days of time when we will be completely ready.

As per latest development, Woodland was mulling over Canada foray again. Any further updation to share in same regard?

We are in talks with various distributors in Canada; so it will depend on finding a good collaboration. Woolland has rich portfolio in the outdoor category as well. In India, we are leader in this category but we are seeing a lot of growth of the category in international markets. Hence, we are pushing this category in many markets. Recently, we have done Chinese venture via tying up with Aokang Shoes. Also, we are selling in Saudi Arabia and UAE with a very large footprint. Even in Russian context, we are present in Moscow and have aggressive plans for these markets.

Is brand planning to shift focus to outdoor instead of leather?

Though we have a large portfolio of leather but we are also into technical fabrics which are light weight and good for outdoor range. We do jackets of other fabrics as well. Apart from this, categories such as bag packs are largely done with non leather material. We keep on inventing new products and technologies. The category split of our product folio is 60:40, among this ratio 60 is dedicated to leather remaining is for others.  We aim to maintain the same ratio; however it depends on demand generation and particular market.

Also, shed light on your current footprint? How you are planning to scale-up the distribution?

Presently, we have600 company owned exclusive stores. Apart from this, we have three-four thousand MBOs. Normally, we have 40-50 stores each year we will continue with same in this year as well. Also, we have opened seven-eight franchised stores as well where are in areas where we do not wish to have company owned outlets like Kashmir and North-East. For future, the focus will remain on overall growth be it company owned, multi-brand, franchised or online.

Any comment on online channel? How you wish to grow this channel.

Online hardly contributes 14-15%  of total turnover. Apart from our web store, we are there at almost every marketplace including Amazon, Flipkart, etc. Apart from this, we are working on omnichannel systems in our stores




Harkirat Singh