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ITC tries out new formats, plans 25 new stores
Financial Chronicle - 11 Apr 2011

The firm plans specialty stores such as 'menswear only', 'boutique stores' to offer premium range

DIVERSIFIED business group ITC is experimenting with new formats to drive growth of its apparel retail chain Wills Lifestyle.

The company is opening up specialty stores such as 'menswear only' and 'boutique stores' to offer more premium range, apart from expanding its retail reach with plans to set up around 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 provide details such as the number of such stores and the timeline for opening them.

"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," Chand said.

Currently, the firm operates three such stores in the group's 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.

In the current financial year, ITC is targeting about 30 per cent growth in sales for its lifestyle retail business compared with last year.

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