Lee Cooper is an authentic British denim brand which was founded in 1908 by Morris Cooper and established itself as a leading maker of workwear, providing uniforms for the British troops in WW1 and WW2. It soon emerged as the preferred denim brand in the UK where eight out of every 10 denims sold were Lee Cooper.
Over the years, Lee Cooper has emerged as a brand catering to youth and their celebrity icons. Creating specialist cuts and innovative new styles has always been at the core of the brand thereby creating a great fan base in more than 100 countries across the globe.
“Being an original British denim brand, Lee Cooper considers the young and youthful, who exuberate attitude and confidence at all times as its core TG. Looking cool without trying too hard is the mindset our customers live with and hence being on-trend is what matters the most to them,” says CEO Future Lifestyles Fashions (Lee Cooper and aLL), Hetal Kotak.
The brand’s present product portfolio includes denim – the clear frontrunner – across its menswear, womenswear and kidswear portfolios. Denim contributes nearly 90 per cent business as far as bottomwear is considered and around 50 per cent in topwear.
“We invest a lot of time in understanding the emerging trends and identifying cuts and washes that will excite our customers. The efforts in design, washes, cuts and fits have started showing results helping us to be one of the most acceptable brands across portfolios,” he says.
Over the last two years, Lee Cooper has seen a huge surge in demand across the women and children segments.
“Our women’s line has got a very exciting response with us being by far the best accepted brand in key premium retail chains like Central and our kids range is doing exceptionally well across all channels like Lifestyle and Central. This makes us one of the very few denim’ brands where-in together Women & Kids contribute to almost equal sales as men,” reveals Kotak.
Lee Cooper’s top selling denim collections include ‘Lazer & Ozone Treated Denim’ and ‘Bi-Stretch’ denim for the male target audience and ‘Hemotion Denim’ and ‘Lazer Washes’ for the women.
“This season we have planned a complete range of classic, on trend and high fashion denim to ensure that our customers (both male and female) finds their favourite pick as per the occasion of usage. In the women’s line, we have introduced more than 10 silhouettes in denim tops and are sure that our customers will be spoilt for choice. The upcoming collection of coated denim and biker denim will sure be extremely exciting to our Male TG,” states Kotak.
Retail Presence & Expansion Plans
“We are a global brand with presence in more than 100 countries. In India, we have a very strong presence in more than 150 cities including our primary markets – Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi, and Chennai. We are present in all key large-format retail stores such as Centrals, Lifestyle, fbb, Shopper’s Stop, Reliance Trends to name a few, with nearly majority of our business coming from these department stores,” says Kotak.
The brand has a shop-in-shop presence of more than 1,200 doors and has initiated a pilot of EBOs in smaller towns over the past one year. Their total retail space – including EBOs and SISs is 3,00,000 sq. ft in India and their same store sales growth rate is at a healthy 50 per cent.
“We now we plan to rapidly grow the presence of EBOs across select markets,” he states.
An Omnichannel Impact
“We believe that the fashion aspiration in Tier II & III towns is continuously growing and is moving closer to acceptability levels of a metro. The youth in these towns aspire to have international brands in their wardrobe. Hence, to cater to the needs of our customers, we have recently strengthened our presence on various online portals like Jabong, Myntra, Amozon and Flipkart to cater to areas where we do not have brick-and-motor stores,” explains Kotak.
Presently, online contributes to 5 per cent of sales for Lee Cooper. Their total sales turnover in India in FY16-17 was Rs 500 crore.
The brand strongly believes that technology has been playing a pivotal role in meeting the demands of the consumer while being ‘environment friendly’. The company has adopted many technical innovations and have even introduced some of their own including:
Ozone washing technology – that replaces harmful chemicals with alternative an ‘drop-in’ chemical that creates similar garment effects, while significantly reducing water and energy consumption making it sustainable for the environment.
Laser technology – which has really helped to replicate the look of traditional denim with minimalistic human effort and time.
“With growing presence in EBO channel, the ‘Omnichannel’ approach will become relevant, in the time to come,” concludes Kotak.