Lifestyle not slowing down on expansion plans: Managing Director

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KOLKATA: Department chain Lifestyle is not slowing down on its expansion plans despite the slowdown in consumption which has affected the growth rate of the business, managing director Vasanth Kumar said.

Talking to ET, Kumar said the 78-store chain will continue to open 7-8 stores every year for the next 2-3 years and has signed property for almost all the newer ones. “Penetration is still small in India and we will continue with our pace of expansion. All the stores will come up inside malls which will help to attract younger consumers,” he said.

Lifestyle growth rate has plummeted to single digit this year as compared to double digit last year. The chain had clocked Rs 4,000 crore sales in 2018-19. “Average billing is stagnant. Walk-in in malls is under pressure. Same-store sales growth has come down,” Kumar said.

He said sales growth in Kerala led by Onam is double digit but it won’t be a true indicator for the festive season since last year base is small due to the state-wide flood. “Durga puja sales in East will be the first indicator for the festive season sales this year,” Kumar said.

The retailer also wants to increase the contribution of e-commerce to total sales from 3% now to 15% over the next four years. For this, it has tied up with the Flipkart group to sell the products from its bouquet of ten private labels through Flipkart and Myntra platforms. “We could not have grown in e-commerce on our own. A presence in the marketplaces will help,” Kumar said.

Lifestyle has decided to focus on regional communication this festive season and promoting on social media to attract the attention of younger consumers who often buy online. “Impulse purchases are now happening in e-commerce largely through the mobile phone. For retailers, it is mostly planned purchases and hence we want to attract consumers accordingly,” Kumar said.

The retailer is also expanding its private label range across brands. Kumar said almost 40% of the sales are from private label which is one of the highest in the Indian apparel retail industry.

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