ITC had launched Wills Lifestyle as an initiative to diversify, in order to reduce its dependence on tobacco and cigarettes. But over the years it has developed into one of the most admired brand in the country. ITC Lifestyle Retailing that looks after the brand is looking to expand its retail reach and add more premium range to its offerings. They have 75 stores spread over 40 cities at the moment and they are looking to add another 25 stores in the coming 15 months to hit the century mark.
The company is focusing more on specialty stores that have more premium range to offer. They have recently opened a ‘Menswear Only’ store in Chennai and have plans to open more such stores in the key markets of the country. They are also opening ‘Boutique Stores’ to target luxury consumers at 5 Star hotels. They are already operating three such boutiques in the luxury hotels of the group and are in the process of opening two more boutiques in other hotels.
Atul Chand, the Chief Executive of ITC Lifestyle Retailing is optimistic about achieving a targeted growth of 30% in 2011 over the 2010 sales figures. They would try to push up the share of designer range in their total sales which is at 15% at the moment. They have tie-ups with 10 leading designers in the country who create exclusive range of clothes for their stores. The number of their stores that are operating on the franchise model is low at just 15. The company is planning to take the franchise route for rapid expansion and get into the tire II and tire III cities where the demand for premium brands has gone up because of the economic growth.