Fashion in India is way more than just a trend and these new-age eRetailers know how to leverage this factor to uplift sales and popularity of their brands. Every third shopping search in India is fashion- related and the queries on fashion are growing at 66 per cent year-on-year. Year 2015 is all about innovation and online apparel industry in India has seen extraordinary competitiveness here.
Talking about the same with Retailer Media, Radhesh Kagzi, President, Creative Lifestyles Pvt. Ltd. explains how big the industry is and the scope it presents. He also shared his vision on how to keep the retail boat sailing in the global high tide.
Talk to us about Creative Lifestyles and the journey so far?
Creative Lifestyles Pvt. Ltd. is a part of Creative Group which is amongst India's largest apparel and home furnishing group. It has 22 state-of-the-art apparel factories all over India producing over 11 million units annually. Creative Group's mission is to be a leading reliable, cost-efficient supply chain partner for textile products, especially for apparel brands, home textiles and retailers worldwide. The Creative Group launched 109°F in October 2006 and is one of the leading brands in women’s western wear category in India and is also popular in foreign countries such as Australia, UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Ecuador, Sri Lanka and Nepal. It has seen expansion in EBOs (exclusive brand outlets) and other LFS (large format stores).
The company launched Fusion Beats, a women's wear brand which is western in look but Indian in spirit in the year 2012. It is an amalgamation of ethnic and western wear. Our stores are present all over the country and overseas. We are also present in the online space and planning to expand on the E-commerce front in the near future. Also, we are planning to come up with New Franchisee stores and additional Large Formats as well.
What are your thoughts on Budget 15-16? Do you think it will reaffirm the fashion industry?
Unfortunately, the Govt. is not paying adequate importance to the apparel Industry which is the largest employer in the country after agriculture and one of the most significant contributors to the country’s GDP. However, our association CMAI is working hard to persuade the Govt. to include garments in the lowest slab of GST which is likely to be introduced in the coming Financial Year. If this is done, it will give a major fillip in the industry of which fashion is an integral part.
What were the initial challenges faced while rooting Creative Lifestyles into the Indian market?
Organised retail in India is still at a nascent stage, and I see a huge jump in the share of organised sector in the coming years. Tapping of Tier-2 and Tier-3 markets, the large percentage of youth in the overall population, the gradual shift from traditional to modern clothing, and the increasing prosperity along with rising aspirations, will all lead to the surge in consumption of ready-to-wear garments. Our company will be in a position to take full advantage of this market phenomena, and in addition to these, there is also the rapid shift in consumers tastes to western clothing and international fashion.
Indian customer still believes in “touch & feel” factor and this applies on clothing more than any other category. How did you overcome this hurdle?
The touch and feel factor is extremely important and especially to the Indian Consumer. This is why, in spite of our major growth in the E-commerce space, we are continuing our focus on our EBO’s and other retail outlets and in the coming year hoping to use technology to create an Omni- channel link between our online and offline segment.
What’s your take on FDI in retail? What percentage does E-commerce hold in the overall apparel industry?
I personally believe that FDI in retail will be good for the overall industry. However, I would strongly urge the Govt. to ensure that the artificial differentiation between various channels such as online and offline are removed and the entire retail industry as a common policy.
Do you see any potential in tier II and III markets for premium lifestyle products?
We have already started tapping Tier 2 markets for our brand 109°F, and Tier 3 cities for our brand Fusion Beats. This trend will continue keeping in mind the changing socio-economic and demographic factors.
Mobile commerce is the talk of the town. Do you take it as an extension to E-Commerce or a separate entity altogether? Does it have the clout to change the face of retail in the country?
Yes, it is a sheer extension of E-commerce but has the power to displace the traditional E-commerce models and emerge as a strong entity by itself.
How different is the consumer behaviour when it comes to a comparison between India and the rest of the world?
The consumer behaviour is essentially the same anywhere in the world. She has the same attractions, temptations and apprehensions. The Indian consumer perhaps is slightly more price conscious.
Do you have any Omni-channel strategy in place?
Yes, we are working towards this and we should be having it in place in the next few months.
Your vision on the future of fashion retailing and how do you plan to cope up with the changing dynamics of the market in the coming years?
Continuous efforts to upgrade our product design, introduction of international fashion, close track of trends, attractive visual merchandise, better sales staff, and improving the available stocking system are some of the ways we keep ahead of the changing dynamics of the market.