Arvind to launch online apparel business


August 19, 2014

Mihir Dalal, Mint
Bangalore, 19 August 2014

Retailer Arvind Ltd will start an e-commerce website that will sell personalized or customized shirts, trousers and suits under the Creyate brand, in a move that illustrates the growing popularity of online shopping.

Arvind will also launch a fully-fledged e-commerce site that will sell all its owned and licensed brands, including Flying Machine, Arrow and Tommy Hilfiger, next year, executive director Kulin Lalbhai said. The company hopes to generate sales of Rs.1,000 crore over the next three years from its e-commerce business, he said.

“As physical (organized) retail was in the nineties, we see e-commerce as the next big thing. We are convinced that a large part of the consumption will move toward e-commerce. As a company which wants to be the largest player in brands and fashion, we feel e-commerce should be central to our vision,” Lalbhai said.

Arvind has formed a separate unit called Arvind Internet Ltd, headed by Tejinder Singh, a former executive at Times Internet. Arvind Internet has hired more than 40 executives, mostly from e-commerce firms such as Flipkart and Times Internet.

Arvind was planning to launch an online personalized apparel retail business within the next three months, Mint reported on 10 June.

Retailers such as Shoppers Stop, MobileStore, Croma and Spencer’s Retail have been talking up their strategy of integrating their stores with their websites and trying to make e-commerce a crucial medium of sales. Online retail is worth $3.1 billion, or 10% of the organized retail market, and is estimated to grow to $22 billion, or over 15% of the organized retail market, in five years, according to a November 2013 report by brokerage CLSA.

The growth of online retailers such as Flipkart and Snapdeal has hurt offline retailers, as customers have been lured by attractive discounts and the convenience of home delivery. Many retailers had asked brand manufacturers, who are also suppliers to online firms, to persuade e-commerce sites to reduce their discounts.

These steps are unlikely to work as analysts say e-commerce has become too large a medium for brands to ignore and the best approach for offline retailers would be to make a serious attempt at having some kind of an online business.

"The biggest difference between running a traditional retail business versus an e-commerce site is the pace at which you have to make decisions," said Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of retail consultancy Third Eyesight. "In e-commerce, things such as inventory management, merchandising, pricing, promotions, etc., have a much shorter life span and a company has to be very fast on its feet to manage these things. Even customer acquisition costs are significantly higher in e-commerce, and logistics management is a complex problem. All this shows that it not easy for a traditional retail business to make a transition into e-commerce."

On its part, Arvind is launching Creyate in international markets, such as the US, as well as in India. The brand will also launch stores in 15 cities within the next year. These will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology to allow shoppers to customize all aspects of shirts, trousers and suits, such as material, sizes and features, Arvind’s Lalbhai said.

The website, which will be called, and the stores will take about 12 days to deliver products initially. Arvind has set up a separate factory for the Creyate business.

(Published in MINT.)