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ITC puts spotlight on lifestyle retail
Economic Times - 23 Aug 2007

Co Plans More Wills Lifestyle, John Player Stores

TOBACCO to hotels and FMCG conglomerate ITC Ltd is now targeting a 30%-plus growth in its lifestyle retailing business. For this, the company plans to expand its retail presence by setting up more Wills Lifestyle, John Player and Miss Players stores.

For Wills Lifestyle, the special occasionwear range, the brand has tied up with leading domestic designers. It is set to be a focus area.

ITC’s lifestyle retailing business vice-president (marketing) Atul Chand told ET: “We launched this category last year and it already contributes 15% to Wills Lifestyle’s total sales. We are hoping to increase this to 25%.” Besides the special occasionwear line, Will Lifestyle also offers formal, casual and eveningwear.

Mr Chand was in the city on Wednesday to announce noted fashion designer Rohit Bal’s association with the Wills Lifestyle brand. He will be the latest designer the brand will be collaborating with in its ‘ramp to rack’ initiative to make designerwear accessible to customers.

The brand is looking to tie up with a total of 10 designers over the next two years. Besides Rohit Bal, Wills Lifestyle already has tieups with Manish Malhotra, Rohit Gandhi-Rahul Khanna, Monisha Jaising and Rajesh Pratap Singh.

For John Player, which has about 200 stores at present, another 100 stores are expected to come up by end of 2007-08. These are expected to come up in metros as well as tier II and tier III cities.

The next year is also likely to see the setting up of 20 standalone stores of Miss Player, the recently launched fashionwear for women. “Our strategy in the case of Miss Players is three-pronged. We want to set up independent stores, populate more John Player stores and penetrate multibrand outlets and large-format retailers,” said Mr Chand.

“We are targeting both, metros and mini-metros for expansion. However, we are looking to grow primarily in the malls,” said Mr Chand.