Chennaiites have great understanding of fashion: Lifestyle top man

Chennai: Retail fashion brand Lifestyle International completed 20 years into operations and with it launched its sixth store in city recently, taking the count to 77 outlets overall in the country.

News Today had an interaction with managing director of Lifestyle International Pvt Ltd, Vasanth Kumar and divulged into details about brand future, industry, adoption of technology and more importantly what makes Chennai attractive for the fashion retailer.

Excerpts from his interview-

Q: Having launched your sixth store in Chennai, where would you put the city in terms of market share?
A: We launched our first store in Alwarpet, Chennai in 1999 and since then we have a total of nine stores in Tamilnadu, with two in Coimbatore, one in Trichy and six in Chennai. We have a dominant position in the State of Tamilnadu and specially in the city of Chennai with presence in all the important malls of the city.

Q: What makes Chennai a lucrative market for the brand?
A: Chennai represents a cosmopolitan lifestyle with discerning consumers who have a great understanding of latest fashion and trends. In addition to this, over two decades, Lifestyle has kept pace with the changing customer tastes and has (been) constantly adapting its offerings and shopping experience.

Q: Explain to us your expansion plans and also about the current footprint of Lifestyle.
A: Nationally, we are currently present in over 40 cities with a total store count of 77. We also deliver to over 26,000 pincodes across India through our e-commerce store, Our aim is to add as many as nine to 10 stores annually, which should help us complete 100 stores by 2021. We do not have any immediate plans to open additional stores in Chennai, (which) continues to be a focus market for us.

Q: Despite well-known brands being retailed in your stores, how important is it for Lifestyle to push its own brands? Explain to us the work behind it.
A: A strong private label offering distinguishes us from the rest in the market – offering consumers a wide variety of styles and trends across categories of apparel, footwear and fashion accessories. We currently have 11 private label brands including four franchise brands. Our own brands are – Melange, Ginger, Nexus, Forca, Fame Forever, Code, Juniors and our franchise brands are – Smiley, Kappa, Bossini and UCLA.

Q: State to us the revenue and growth of the brand for the previous fiscal.
A: We are a Rs 4,000 crore brand looking to grow at 15 per cent every year.

Q: Explain to us the difficulties in bringing in new customers, especially those from the current age who prefer buying online rather than visit stores.
A: In line with our vision, Lifestyle provides customers with an omni-channel experience. Through this, we enable a frictionless fashion shopping experience for customers across our stores and online. Our pan-India presence allows us to reach out to our customers better. Customers can now shop from the comfort of their homes from our online store, or step into one of our brick-and-mortar stores for a tech-enabled, unique retail experience.

Q: Tell us the amount of work that is being made to recognise customer preferences and share with us changes in trends that were unforeseen in India.
A: Retail is moving towards providing customers a seamless shopping experience that is simple, hassle-free and personalised. Hence, change that identifies and removes all friction from the shopping journey of customers will redefine the experience. Frictionless journey from discovery to purchase supported by customer focused services will be key. This along with tech-enabled experiences, highly relevant content across channels and access to fresh fashion and all the latest trends will become customer preferences.