Viveat Susan Pinto, Financial Express
August 3, 2023
The country’s largest organised retailer, Reliance Retail, is working on a new value retail store format called Yousta. The move will pit Reliance Retail directly with Trent’s Zudio, Landmark Group’s Max Fashion and Shoppers Stop’s Intune, informed sources have told Fe, as growth prospects beckon in the category.
Reliance Retail will roll out the new Yousta stores of around 5,000-10,000 sq. ft. in size in cities such as Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai in the initial phase, the sources said.
Pricing will be competitive at under Rs 500 per unit, targeted at youth, children and families.
A gradual ramp-up of stores across more metros and cities will happen in the months ahead, as Reliance Retail is looking to take store count of Yousta to around 200-250 over the next few years. The retailer is speaking to malls and high streets across cities to lease space for the new format, persons in the know said. Executives at Reliance Retail were not immediately available for comment.
However, some experts see Reliance Retail’s move as a belated acknowledgement of a segment that constitutes nearly 90% ($45 billion) of the estimated $50 billion domestic fashion market. The premium end is pegged at 10% ($5 billion) of the domestic fashion market.
“Much of the attention of apparel retailers in recent years has been at the top-end of the fashion market. While affluence at the top-end is high, the space has also become crowded with local and international brands,” says Devangshu Dutta, chief executive officer at Gurugram-based retail consultancy Third Eyesight.
“The larger value retail market has consumers in the middle and lower middle class who while being conscious of their budgets are also aspirational,” he says. “With the right product and pricing, volume sales can be significant in this segment,” he says.
Reliance Retail has an existing value retail format called Reliance Trends, which has nearly 2,500 stores across the country. However, the company has been looking to broaden its appeal in the category with more store formats, sector experts said. Yousta is expected to fill that gap, they say.
“The value retail market has long-term growth potential because there are number of consumers who are moving from unbranded to branded products. They are looking at affordably-priced branded goods, which value retailers can cater to,” says Aliasgar Shakir, retail analyst at Mumbai-based brokerage Motilal Oswal.
Some experts say that the discretionary slowdown in the marketplace has pushed apparel retailers to look at the value retail space more closely.
“Intune is a ‘Fashion For All’ format, which is one of our strategic initiatives to cater to young families,” Venu Nair, MD & CEO, Shoppers Stop, said in a recent investor call.
Nair admitted on the earnings call that the apparel segment in general has been witnessing moderation and that the value retail foray could help the company tap into the growing trend for affordable fashion and lifestyle products.
Trent’s Zudio and Max Fashion have big plans for the category. At Trent’s FY23 annual general meeting held recently, the company said it would open 200 stores of Zudio in FY24, much higher than estimates of analysts. In FY23, Trent had opened 117 Zudio outlets taking the total store count of the brand to 352.
Max Fashion will add 100 stores in the next one year, top officials at the company said, taking its total outlet count to close to 600.
(Published in Financial Express)
Viveat Susan Pinto, Financial Express
July 1, 2023
The rivalry between two of the country’s best-known retailers – Reliance Retail and Nykaa – is beginning to play out in multiple categories. After Reliance Retail stepped into the beauty retail space in April with Tira, an online-and-offline beauty destination, to counter Nykaa, the country’s largest organised retailer has set its sights on the women’s inner wear market.
Around 60-70% of the $6-billion inner wear market in India is unorganised, with the balance 30-40% being organised with online and offline brands. The organised market is growing at around 15-20% per annum, making it a compelling story for retailers, industry experts said.
To be sure, Reliance Retail has six inner wear brands in its portfolio, including private label Hush retailed through Reliance Trends, acquired digital brands Clovia, Zivame and Amante and partnerships with international brands Marks & Spencer and Hunkemoller, persons in the know said.
But what has been missing in its portfolio are retail stores dedicated to inner wear. Reliance Retail is now piloting a new retail format in the inner wear segment called Blush Lace, according to informed sources, and may formally launch these stores in the next few months, targeting the mass market, including tier II and III cities. Reliance Retail executives were not immediately available for comment.
Thee effort from Reliance Retail, however, comes as Nykaa makes steady inroads into the inner wear market with Nykd, its in-house brand that is available both online and offline. The company has rolled out six stores so far of Nykd in cities such as Bengaluru, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mysore and is slowly emerging as a strong player in the category with a combination of good designs, affordable price points and easy-to-navigate tutorials, a strategy it has successfully used in beauty retail. Annual sales of Nykd have touched `85 crore within three years of launch, Nykaa said during its recent investor day, with plans to scale up operations as business booms in the category.
“Though a large part of the inner wear market in India is fragmented, over the last few years, the market has seen the entry of national and international brands as general awareness and disposable incomes grow among consumers. The presence of online players has also helped grow the organised market and most brands, whether online or offline, have an omni-channel strategy to tap consumers,” Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of Gurugram-based retail consultancy Third Eyesight, said.
Apart from lingerie, Blush Lace will have women’s accessories, beauty and skin care products, loungewear, shapewear and sleep essentials as it seeks to position itself as a one-stop shop for all things inner wear.
While Reliance Retail’s current portfolio of inner wear brands will be part of Blush Lace’s catalogue, the company may introduce more brands in the future to drive footfalls, informed sources said. For Nykaa, on the other hand, Nykd, along with 20 Dresses, another owned brand from the company, will be big focus areas in the future.
(Published in Financial Express)
Dia Rekhi & Faizan Haidar, Economic Times
New Delhi, June 29, 2023
Fast Retailing, the parent company of Uniqlo, is looking to set up a significant manufacturing presence in India through about 20 ‘production partners’, multiple people aware of the development told ET.
One of the world’s most valuable clothing retailers, Uniqlo already has a cluster of production partners in India and is looking to expand this network through a significantly large investment, they said without sharing any estimated amount.
“The investment amount will be significant because Uniqlo is serious about India and views it as an important market,” one of the persons said. “Unlike the existing facilities in India, which cater more towards exports, the production partners that Uniqlo will bring to India will be specifically meant for the domestic market.”
One of the company’s production partners that ET spoke to confirmed that their current mandate is to produce only for exports.
Uniqlo, which is Asia’s biggest clothing brand, had said India is one of the top priority markets for them where consumers are increasingly shifting from ‘fast-fashion’ to long-lasting essentials and functional wear.
The company’s ambitions for India are considerable with its CEO Tadashi Yanai indicating that he wants Uniqlo to become the “best-selling retailer in India”.
The Japanese brand opened its first door in September 2019, but stringent lockdown measures announced to contain the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020 delayed the expansion plan.
The brand is now planning to enter Mumbai and Bangalore. It has already opened stores in Lucknow and Chandigarh after Delhi.
Uniqlo does not own any factories. Instead, it outsources production of almost all its products to factories outside Japan.
As per a report titled ‘The Uniqlo case: fast retailing recipe for attaining market leadership position in casual clothing’, this model allows Uniqlo to keep its breakeven point low and improve return on investment.
“As we expand our global sales, we continue to grow our partner factory network in countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and India,” the company has stated on its website.
As per its list of garment factories, as on March 1, 2023, Uniqlo has 227 factories in China, 54 in Vietnam, 33 in Bangladesh, 13 in Indonesia, and 16 factories in India and Japan among several other locations.
As the world’s second most-populated country, India is an attractive market for apparel brands, especially with youngsters increasingly embracing western-style clothing.
Over the past decade, global brands Zara and H&M became market leaders in the fast fashion segment in India.
“For global brands, India should be one of the most logical sourcing hubs given its large vertically integrated manufacturing sector on the one hand and the large, growing domestic market driving demand on the other hand,” Devangshu Dutta, founder of retail consulting firm Third Eyesight, told ET. “However, its weight in the sourcing baskets has historically been low due to several reasons, in spite of China being visible for decades to the management teams of brands and retailers as a concentrated sourcing risk,” he said.
Uniqlo’s existing production partners in the country include Shahi Exports, Brandix Lanka, Tangerine Design, Maral Overseas, Shingora Textiles, Silver Spark Apparel, SM Lulla Industries Worldwide and Penguin Apparels.
As per Fast Retailing’s first-half results, the company said its revenue was 1.4672 trillion yen, or around $10.2 billion, and that its operating profit had risen to 220.2 billion yen ($1.53 billion), bolstered by strong performances from operations in several regions, including India where it said it generated significant increases in both revenue and profit.
With regard to Uniqlo International, in particular, it said revenue stood at 755.2 billion yen ($5.25 billion), while operating profit was 122.6 billion yen ($852.93 million).
The company said regions like India “reported significant revenue and profit gains as they enter a full-fledged growth phase”.
(Published in Economic Times)
Rochelle Britto & Shabori Das, The Economic Times
May 25, 2023
“Taiyaar Hoke Aaiye”. It seems the tagline has worked for the company which has been able to attract investors who came prepared for its offer for sale (OFS).
In a bid to reduce promoters’ shareholding down to 75% as per SEBI norms, Vedant Fashions, known for its ethnic wear brand Manyavar, floated the OFS on May 19 which saw huge participation — oversubscribed 1.4 times with bids for 34 million shares as compared to 24 million shares on the offer. The non-retail segment was oversubscribed 2.24 times.
The shares were offered at a price of INR1,161. While the stock initially fell 1.5% on May 19 to INR1,230, it was trading at INR1,268 on May 24, up 4.59% in five days.
The promoters have offloaded 16.9 million shares, which works out to 7% of the total equity shares with an option to sell additional 6.9 million (2.88%) shares, taking the total to 9.88%.
Manyavar represents the premium wedding market of the country and boasts of some big names as its brand ambassador — Virat Kohli, Amitabh Bachchan, Ranveer Singh, and Kartik Aaryan. With strong fundamentals, the company has grown at 30% CAGR over the last one year and investors feel this is one classic growth stock with high valuations that cannot be ignored. Vedant Fashions trades at a PE multiple of 73x while Trent, a competitor, has a PE of 119x.
The great Indian wedding
The sales of Vedant Fashion are highly correlated to the wedding season. The Indian wedding market is massive at USD50 billion with around 3 million weddings or events taking place every year. According to news reports, the spending is growing and is likely to be around INR3.75 lakh crore this year.
According to Crisil, weddings are getting bigger, grander, and longer, fuelled by higher disposable incomes and a surge in discretionary spending. It expects the ethnic-apparel market to grow between 15% and 17% to nearly INR1.38 trillion by 2025, supported by a growing desire among Indians to wear traditional attire instead of western wear for big celebrations.
While a lavish spending is done on everything, from venue to food to even flower arrangement, clothes hog the limelight. The business has become high-margin, elite, and high-fashion. And the organised market is growing at a very fast pace.
In the organised market, Vedant Fashion has a 40% market share which might be difficult to maintain as competition increases. “In the upcoming quarter, while April experiences a slight lull in wedding dates, May and June present an abundance of excellent opportunities. Moreover, as we analyse the entire year ahead, we are highly confident in the favourable wedding dates during Q3 and Q4. These trends align closely with our historical data, reinforcing our optimism for the current new financial year,”says Vedant Modi, chief marketing officer, Vedant Fashions.
“Vedant Fashions has successfully tapped into and emerged as the market leader, head and shoulders above competitors, in a segment that has been extremely fragmented. Festive wear and occasion wear is not immune to downturns, but is better placed to ride them out, and this makes it a very attractive product segment. However, Vedant have exploited this opportunity and scaled up much more successfully than other companies, beginning with menswear and then in womenswear,” says Devangshu Dutta, CEO, Third Eyesight.
Vedant Fashions is expanding its retail footprint by adding around 75,000 sq ft retail area in Q4FY23. It has a total retail presence of 1.47 million square feet as of March FY23, spanning across 649 stores in 257 cities. There is a direct correlation between the addition of stores and the growth in sales, but the full potential of a new store takes some time. Almost 40% of the expansion has happened in the fourth quarter, so the full revenue (of the expansion) would come in the following year. Thus, many times the store growth doesn’t match the revenue growth.
The company is also expanding in US, UAE, London, and Canada to cater to the growing Indian community in these markets. For FY23, it has had sales growth of 30% at INR1,355 crore with Ebitda margins at 50%.
However, the growth witnessed by the company in FY23 has slowed down despite an upswing in events and weddings.
Vedant Fashions reported revenue growth of 76% in FY22 over FY21 and profit growth of 136% during the same period. While the slowdown in the growth rate can be attributed to settling down of revenge shopping post-pandemic, the number of social events has definitely increased to not take notice.
“Market valuations are an indicator of not only present value of a business but also perceived future value, and market leaders usually are rewarded with richer valuations(Page Industries is another such example),” adds Dutta.
The company’s latest presentation states that it has achieved 95% ROCE for FY23. The company is still in an investment stage and its cash flow statement says that INR249 crore is blocked in investments for FY23.
In a market that is lacking growth, the wedding season almost looks like recession-proof. The market has returned to growth mode even at a time when inflation is high and the overall economy is subdued. But then, the Indian wedding market — especially the part that Vedant Fashion tracks — is on a high and the growth will continue for a long time.
While the number of players is increasing, not many have a picture-perfect balance sheet with high ROEs and even higher Ebitda margins. Vedant Fashions has become the classic growth stock with very high valuations. It has a price/book value of 28x but investors feel that for a company that generates a high ROE and a high growth, the valuation is not extreme.
Mutual funds and institutional investors are making a beeline for the stock because of the growth rate and the overall size of the market. According to BSE filings, mutual funds account for 8.90% of the total holding where SBI Mutual Fund has the biggest share at 3.80%. On the other hand, retail holds 1.43%. Post the OFS, these numbers will go up.
The company successfully launched its initial public offering (IPO) last year. The stock debuted at an 8.08% premium over the issue price of INR866. The share slipped more than 4% on May 18 as the promoters announced plans to sell stake in the company.
Since listing, the company has gained 36% and has had a great run with its stock being up by a significant 27% over the last one year as compared to its peer Aditya Birla, which is down by 30.95%, and Nifty 50, up by just 12%.
The Indian apparel market is amongst the top three consumer categories. The pandemic made a lot of consumers switch to the online channel — which was also enabled by easy returns. However, while western apparel in India is a lot more frequently purchased when it comes to the online channel, the offline channel continues to be the primary source of consumers and footfall for ethnic-wear brands. The organised ethnic wear market in India is still relatively small, as the unorganised apparel category, ethnic and otherwise, continues to dominate.
The primary market for the unorganised ethnic wear is mostly women, driven by everyday and wedding wear categories.
According to Euromonitor International, a UK-based market research firm, the Indian apparel market is expected to be at USD58,773.8 million by the end CY23 (excluding the footwear market). The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.6% during CY2023-CY2027.
“The apparel and footwear market experienced significant recovery in 2022 with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. The industry also benefited from the return of festivals and weddings to their pre-pandemic fervour, as these are periods when the demand for categories such as ethnic apparel and other occasion-based apparel spiked,” says Euromonitor International.
The peer play
Prominent players like Aditya Birla Fashion, Reliance Retail, and Tata-owned Trent are making strategic investments in the country’s thriving ethnic wear market, estimated at INR1.84 trillion.
The recent acquisition of TCNS Clothing by Aditya Birla Fashion further solidifies this ongoing trend. With a transaction value of INR1,650 crore for a controlling stake of 51%, this acquisition highlights the company’s commitment to capitalising on the prevailing market dynamics.
According to Ashish Dikshit, managing director of Aditya Birla Fashion, ethnic wear commands the largest market share in India’s apparel industry, comprising 30% (equivalent to INR1.84 trillion) of the total domestic apparel market valued at INR6.15 trillion, while 80%-85% of the ethnic wear market, according to experts, is dominated by the unorganised segment. The branded or organised end of the market at 15%-20% (around INR28,000 crore – INR37,000 crore in size) is growing at around 20% per annum.
Trent, owned by Tata, has launched a new ethnic wear brand Samoh to increase its market share, as consumers splurge on fresh attire for every event. The new brand will help Trent to compete with Manyavar, and Aditya Birla in the ethnic wear space. The company also has two other fashion retail formats. Its flagship concept, Westside, caters to discerning customers who are aspirational and yet seek value for money. The other format, Zudio, with much smaller stores, operates in a more mass-priced segment. Besides, Trent runs a relatively new concept store, Utsa, which sells its own ethnic and indie wear private labels like Utsa, Zuba, Vark, and Diza.
A growth stock?
The management’s disciplined approach to growth, exemplified by the gradual scale-up of brands like Mohey and Twamev, has been instrumental in mitigating the risks associated with inflated working capital and excessive write-downs. This prudent strategy has safeguarded Vedant Fashions’ profitability and allowed it to maintain sustainable growth without compromising on scalability.
The company’s strong design capabilities with data-driven decision making (leading to no discounted sales), tech-driven supply chain, and auto replenishment model, exclusive vendor ecosystem, and franchise-based EBO expansion have helped scale up its business and achieve superior margins. Most brokerage houses give the stock a “buy” rating.
Manyavar’s decision to team up with some of the country’s top names like Virat Kohli, Ranveer Singh, and Kiara Advani (for Mohey) demonstrates its ambition to capture new markets and connect with a diverse customer base. Continuing the brand’s vision to associate with the best, it reinforced #DulhanWaliFeeling by looping in actress Kiara Advani in January 2023 as the new brand ambassador. With all of them on board, Vedant Fashions hopes to have a joyful journey in style!
By capitalising on their influence, Manyavar solidifies its position as a leading ethnic wear brand in India. But will the company live up to the investors’ expectations? For a growth investor, the answer is yes.
(Published in Economic Times)
Faizan Haider, ET Bureau, 15 March 2023
Value apparel brands are set to grow in India.
The success of Tata Group’s Zudio that sells clothes below Rs 1,500 has prompted Reliance, Shoppers Stop and several global brands to enter the mass-priced retailing segment.
While Reliance Retail is planning to launch a value apparel format, likely to be named ‘Youth’ to compete directly with Tata’s Zudio and Landmark group-owned Max, Shoppers Stop is coming up with a mass-priced brand, internally called InTune, people in the know said.
Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail has been eyeing shoppers in tier-2 and -3 cities with Style Up, a similar format, while affordable French brand Kiabi is in talks with retail space providers and potential partners to enter the India market.
“Although there is a significant concentration of demand in the metro cities and tier-1 cities, these are also hypercompetitive markets. With economic growth spreading into the smaller cities and rising aspirations, especially among young consumers, there is an opportunity for brands to expand into these markets,” said Devangshu Dutta, founder of retail consulting firm Third Eyesight.
“However, keeping price-sensitive segments in mind, companies are creating new labels and brands, rather than pulling down their existing brands’ selling price,” Dutta said.
Trent, the Tata Group company that houses retail brands such as Westside, Zudio and Landmark, had earlier said that while Westside accounted for 70% of its standalone business, Zudio had the potential to outpace the department chain due to the size of the opportunity in the value segment.
“While the value format can offer growth in smaller cities, in metro cities the retailers are trying to target youth through this format. The youth is also aware of the sustainability part and most of these brands are focusing on it,” said Shriram PM Monga, who cofounded retail consultancy firm SRED.
Both Reliance and Shoppers Stop are looking for 6,000-9,000 sq ft space at malls and high street for their new brands, said a person familiar with the development.
Experts said India’s consumption structure was skewed in the past over a narrow base of rich consumers accounting for a large chunk of the market. However, as the economy is broadening across many more cities and the impact is reaching further down the income ladder, the opportunity for value formats and value brands is expanding.
For Lifestyle International, its value brands Max and Easy Buy have already outpaced the department stores by sales, indicating that consumers are increasingly seeking either lower-priced merchandise or opting for global brands such as Zara and H&M for fashion apparel instead of department stores.
(Published in The Economic Times)