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    Wills Lifestyle on expansion spree


    ITC is planning to expand its retail brands — John Players and Wills Lifestyle — extensively. The company plans to double the Wills Lifestyle network to 100 stores in the next 18 months, through a mix of more stores in the existing markets and expanding the footprint in tier-II markets through the franchising model.

    John Players is enjoying heightened consumer interest and its retail presence will be scaled up by adding 100 exclusive stores to take the total to over 300. The focus will be multiple stores in metros, seeding smaller markets, thus bringing the brand closer to the consumer.

    “It is our endeavour to make fashion more accessible to people as we target multiple consumer segments, enter new geographies, open more stores and make our products more appealing. A key strategy is to continuously leverage ITC synergies. We opened our first Wills Lifestyle boutique store in ITC Maurya, which has provided us prime retail space and enabled us to tap a premium consumer base. The success of this store has encouraged us to open two more stores — in ITC Mughal, Agra and at ITC Gardenia, Bengaluru. For John Players, we believe we have been present but not adequately represented in cities, keeping in view that John Players is a popular brand. The new locations for John Player will be a combination of new cities as well as cities in which John Players is already present. The presence will be enhanced in towns with over 10 lakh population, where we will be adding 30 outlets and 40,000 sq.ft space,” says Atul Chand, divisional chief executive, Lifestyle Retail Business, ITC Ltd.

    He further adds Wills Lifestyle and John Players are leading brands in their respective segments. As a result of improvement in consumer sentiments, expansion and growth in existing stores, the company intends to grow by 20-25 per cent over last financial year.

    — Shubhra Saini