How this Indian Denim Company is winning Against Global MNC Brands?
How this Indian Denim Company is winning Against Global MNC Brands?

Kewal Kiran Clothing Limited (KKCL), a leading branded apparel conglomerate was incorporated in 1992. Killer, Integriti, LawmanPg3, Easies and Desi Belle are leading brands offered from the company. Killer is the leading lifestyle brand in the country. Company has presence in 25 states and 209 cities across India. Currently have 320+ retail stores spread across India. KKCL’s brands are also retailed through leading modern retail stores like Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle and also has good online presence through e-commerce platforms. Denims, Shirts, Trousers, T- Shirts, shorts, chinos, jackets, and accessories are the products categories offered by the company. The company has also expanded its accessories division in a big way by introducing Shoes, Eyewear, Watches, Wallets, belts, deodorants and a host of other accessory ranges for men. In an exclusive conversation Kewalchand Jain, Chairman & Managing Director, Kewal Kiran Clothing Ltd talks about the emerging challenges in this segment.

According to you, what would be the estimated size of denim market in India? What are the factors propelling growth in this segment?

The Indian denim jeans industry currently stands at US$3.6 billion, and has been growing at a CAGR of 9% over the last five years, according to a report by Denim Manufacturers' Association. The steady growth is credited to the rise in consumerism, bridging luxury gap and advancements in denim fashion that have given the segment a major boost.This high potential market is gaining ground in India due to factors like rapid globalization, increased brand awareness and surge in fashion consciousness among millennials.

International brands such as Levi’s, Zara, amongst others has high aspirational value among the Indian as far as denim merchandise is concerned. In such scenario, how do you assess the growth opportunities for Indian players like Killer Jeans?

Killer Jeansis a leading Indian brand in the market for over 30 years and understands Indian mindset better than all these players in the same space. This is the first company which had established Omni-channel distribution model across channels like large format stores, MBOs, own stores and online. The company has well established distribution channel spread across India and going strong.

As a company we are long term player and always focused on bottom line coupled with good top line growth rates. In these three decades of our presence we have built our consumer network which is very loyal, quality conscious and fashion oriented. We have equal presence across metros, major cities and rural India. Our strategy of opening stores in commercial and consumption centers across India is paying off well and we are growing steadily.

We have designers working at our manufacturing facility full time from Germany and Turkey, which are the fashion capitals of the world. We price our products right and not indulge in huge discounts.

What is the current distribution ofKiller Jeans in the online as well as offline space? Going forward, what are the plans to scale up the distribution?

Killer is the most recognized brand from the company’s stable and has been the main growth driver since its inception. The brand has a premium image and strong consumer following in the age group of 25 to 40. Killer accounts for 57% of sales. 

“Killer Jeans” has clocked strong sales growth of 24.2% in the second quarter, while sales of other brand “Easies by Killer” grew by 11.4%. Despite the overall demand moderation felt across the branded apparel segment, we are able to generate good growth rates on account of Killer Jeans brand strength. 

With strong geographic presence and several unique brands, KKCL makes fashion and design accessible to people across the country. We are present in 222 cities and towns across 24 states in India, leveraging a robust distribution network that reflects our rich understanding of customer segments.

We have an extensive sales and distribution footprint of directly operated and franchise stores, along with a presence in large format stores, a robust distribution network, carefully selected multi-brand outlets (MBOs) and licensing partnerships.

How are you ensuring minimum damage to environment while manufacturing the product?

We have state of the art manufacturing facilities which follows world class manufacturing techniques while manufacturing denim jeans. Our effluent treatment plants are of international standards and follows stringent norms to safeguard the environment.

Sustainability is the only way to protect the environment for future generation. Worldwide and even in India, each industry has come out with some or the other sustainable measure to reduce the global carbon footprint. Now apparel industry has joined the sustainability drive. LawmanPg3, part of Killer Jeans portfolio of brands, has come out with organic stiches in its denim jeans by using organic yarn which looks like rice grain.

Killer Jeans have launched Water Saver Jeans that consumes 80% less water, which means each pair saves up to 100 liters of water while manufacturing. The company also uses environmentally friendly manufacturing techniques and wastage reduction methods while manufacturing. To differentiate these denim jeans from the rest of their collection, they have a green fold i.e. they are dyed green on the side such that when users folded them up from the bottom, a green fold appeared instead of the usual blue (denim colored) one.  

Easies by Killer Jeans has recently launched water and stain resistant fabric as a part of its Spring Summer collection’2020 which makes the trousers and shirts stain free and saves water in washing the clothes.

What are the major challenges of denim retailing?

There are not many challenges in retailing denim jeans, but one has to keep in mind that, the company has to generate profits to build a sustainable planto become a sizable brand. Only top line growth brands will not survive in the long run as India is a vast country with many cultures and one needs to have good reach across India.

Understanding mindset of Indian consumer and provide value for money products at right price rather than over pricing the denim jeans and discounting the product through the year. Discounting will not survive in the long run and this would dilute the brand proposition.The brands should be patient to build the brand as it takes time. Brands like Killer Jeans have been performing well on all these parameters and consistent delivery of highest margins and good and consistent growth rates on top line front in the last three decades.

At last, kindly highlight your growth plans?

Kewal Kiran Clothing has moved in the value chain and is looking for medium size stores in the range of 2,000sq.ft. to 4000 sq.ft. to showcase all its leading brands Killer Jeans, LawmanPg3, Integriti, Easies and newly launched women’swestern wear brand Desi Belle. With the acquisition of Desi Belle, the company has ventured into women’s wear and is expecting good revenue stream from next financial year.

After launching its newly acquired brand Desi Belle, the company is expecting more footfalls as entire family is going to shop from stores. This necessitates large store formats for better display and pleasant experience for shoppers.The company should reach the store count of 500 in the next five years, considering the expansion plans of the company of adding 10% of the existing stores every year. The current retail stores count stands at 326.The company is on the path to double its current distributors from 125+ to 200 in the next two years. The company also has started showcasing Autumn Winter and Spring Summer collection by organizing mega events and calling channel partners and taking bookings for next season.


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