ITC on new retail format

To open 25 stores on new lifestyle retail formats

Renowned group ITC Ltd plans to experiment with new formats to drive the growth of its apparel retail chain Wills Lifestyle. The company will be shortly opening up specialty stores such as ''menswear only'' and ''boutique stores'' to offer more premium range, apart from expanding its retail reach, by setting up another 25 new stores across India in the next 15 months."We are increasingly experimenting with new specialty formats. For instance, recently the company has launched a store in Chennai to sell only menswear," ITC Lifestyle Retailing Chief Executive Atul Chand. said. He said the company plans to scale up the new format but did not reveal the figures of interest. "We have also set up high-end boutique stores to target luxury consumers at five-star hotels. These stores have different products assortment and cater to higher-end consumers," Mr. Chand said. Currently, the firm operates three such stores in its hotels and two more are likely to come up soon.It is also focusing on having more franchise operated stores to penetrate into markets beyond the big cities. At present, of the total 75 stores operating in about 40 cities, only 15 stores are under franchise model. "In the next 15 months we plan to open 25 new stores across India and about 15 of those outlets will be franchisee -run. So clearly our focus on franchise-model is increasing," he said. ITC is targeting about 30 per cent growth in sales for its lifestyle retail business compared to last year. Also within the stores, the company is introducing new concepts such as designer labels. "Currently 15 per cent of our total sales come from designer range. We have tie-ups with ten leading designers in the country who create exclusive range of clothes for our stores," Chand said.