Three brands poised to make most of a consumer demand

Allen Solly, the apparel brand belonging to Madura Fashion & Lifestyle and the branded apparel business of the Aditya Birla Group, has drawn up aggressive growth plans. The three readymade apparel brands of Madura — Louis Phillipe, Van Heusen and Allen Solly — are poised to make the most of a consumer market greedy for branded apparel. While the former two brands sell mainly formal wear, Allen Solly's more relaxed range caters to younger professionals and the company has been pushing the tag line of ‘Friday Dressing'.

'Casual continuum'

Sooraj Bhat, Brand Head, Allen Solly, told this correspondent that the Allen Solly brand fits into the ‘wardrobe stratification' of being after formalwear but before jeans — ‘casual continuum' and has been in the market since 1993.

“There is no slowdown in the Indian readymade market and of the industry size of Rs.33,000 crore, addressable premium brands account for around Rs.6,000 crore. The last three years have been good and there has not been any real impact of any slowdown,'' said Mr. Bhat, adding that the market was likely to grow at 30-35 per cent in the next three years.

In the last three years, Allen Solly grew at a compounded rate of 60-65 per cent. The brand is worth around Rs.500 crore at retail prices and has around 100 stores nation-wide. “In 2011-12, we will add around 40-50 stores and touch 300 stores by 2012-13. The average store size is around 1,800 sq. ft. and the capital required for each is around Rs.40 lakh. We have a mix of company-owned and franchisee stores at about 70:30. The investment in stores going forward will be around Rs.10 crore a year.''

Allen Solly has extended its brand into the women's range from ‘Career' to ‘Casual' in the last three years and Mr. Bhat felt that the growth of women's wear could outpace men's wear this year.

“Although women's wear is available in around 70 stores, we are expanding ‘Women's Only' stores from 3 to around 25 in two years.''

“The heart of our business is ‘Friday Dressing' and we are looking at continuous innovation and expansion. Accessories will be an important part of our business but we will know once we enter the market.''

Allen Solly will consider extending the brand to accessories such as shoes and bags by 2012-13.

It has two units in Bangalore with a dedicated capacity of two lakh units of wovens a month, which account for 60 per cent of sales while the balance comes from vendor-partners who make products such as jackets and knits.

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