The brand Woodland, owned by Aero Group, was conceptualized and started in Quebec, Canada for making winter boots. Currently the brand is present globally in over 40 countries that include- Hong Kong, China, Australia, Europe, Middle East, Southeast Asia, South America, GCC, CIS Countries and more and sells its products in around 1,000 stores globally.
The company has set up international regional offices and warehouses in Hong Kong, Moscow and Dubai to cater to the requirements of countries in different regions as the business is growing everywhere.
Woodland entered into India in 1992 when the Indian footwear market was largely unorganised. The company now has 600+ EBOs, 5000+ MBOs, 100 Large Format Stores and 500+ Shop-in-Shops. All inclusive, they occupy 9,00,000 sq. ft. of total retail space in the country.
“We created a new category of specialized ‘outdoor adventure sports’ shoes. Our product positioning was different, and we were known as a rugged, outdoor leather shoe brand, the kind usually preferred by adventurists. The youth took fancy to our shoes and we gradually developed a product line especially for India. Since then we have never looked back. The success of our shoes encouraged us to enter into new segments like clothes, handbags, and the likes,” says MD, Woodland, Harkirat Singh.
Apart from boots, the brand diversified into a wide range of products for the accepting Indian market.
“Our product range includes apparels, shoes and accessories for men and women and outdoor equipment like tents, sleeping bags, waterproof outdoor backpacks – everything associated with adventure travels and sports. Most of our products are manufactured in Indian plants,” explains Singh.
This winter, Woodland has introduced a new line of jackets – extremely lightweight, yet tremendously warm. They also have a range of techno-jackets, which are quite the rage among its outdoor loving customers as they are perfectly armed to combat any type of climatic condition or terrain apart from leather jackets, which are very popular among trend-conscious consumers.
The brand boasts of a price range in sync with the buying power of its target audience, which is essentially the non-earning youth segment that is looking for stylish and value for money offerings.
“Our jackets are available with the starting price range of Rs 4,000 whereas the price range of our boots starts from Rs 5,000,” says Singh.
The brand proudly says that they understand consumer preferences and try to innovate by being relevant and in tune with consumer demands.
“The environment around our category is changing with the overlap or segmentation of outdoor apparel sector into many small segments like Gym wear, Athleisure and sportswear which has shaped the outdoor apparel sector as per the consumer demands,” Singh explicates.
Woodland believes it is technologically superior to a lot of brands, while staying in the same price range.
“We explore new ways to give the consumers a new experience every time. At Woodland we explore innovative technology embedded in products and integrate it with all aspects of our brands. We have already launched GPS embedded jackets, BOA shoes, Client T-shirts, and many more new technologies and innovations in products are in pipeline,” he adds.
Retail Expansion Plans
The company has maintained a gradual growth scale in its retail expansion and has said that it would like to keep the progress uniform going forward.
“We are planning to add another 30-35 stores in this financial year that would be an equivalent combination of small towns and metros,” says Singh.
“Today, we see not only youth but people in general also show interest in active outdoor activities and outdoor getaway, which result in increase in demand. That eventually contributes a positive effect on outdoor adventure category. Woodland holds approximately 80 to 85 per cent of outdoor adventure market share in India. There are many players in sports and active wear segments however we look forward to introduce more brands coming in this category,” he adds.
The brand’s online sales in India are growing at a fast rate and they expect a growth of 40 per cent in the next three to four years.
“We plan to concentrate more on a seamless approach through all available shopping channels, i.e. mobile internet devices, computers, bricks-and-mortar, television, radio, direct mail, catalog, in-store experience and so on,” says Singh.
“We are consistently growing at a rate of 20-25 per cent every year. Last year, we clocked Rs 1,200 crore in revenue. Now we are targeting Rs 1,400 crore for the next financial year,” he concludes.