Jeans brands Lee and Wrangler are planning to transform their India businesses into omni-channel entities. This is being done to drive growth and double sales over the next two years by extensively focusing on online channels. The US-based Kontoor Brands is moving Lee and Wrangler business from a fully owned Indian subsidiary to a franchise model. The company has signed a licensing deal with Bengaluru-based Ace Turtle, which provides ecommerce solutions to traditional retailers.
Kontoor is also looking to shut a few stores in India and focusing on rapid growth of fashion products online. The decision to partner Ace Turtle in India is part of a strategy to adapt to a market that is increasingly online and ensure the brands are accessible to customers across the country through a combination of ecommerce and physical stores.
The partnership comes at a time when fashion and lifestyle brands including Puma, Levi’s and Jack & Joes have reported doubling online businesses, as consumers avoided malls and high streets amid fears of Covid-19. Retailers said the pandemic has leapfrogged their online sales by five years and much of the growth is there to stick.
In coming months, Ace Turtle will upgrade store technology to expose the brick-and-mortar inventories on upcoming Lee and Wrangler webstores, as well as on ecommerce sites like Flipkart, Amazon and Myntra.
Lee and Wrangler currently source almost 90 per cent apparels from within India and Ace Turtle plans to increase local sourcing to about 95 per cent within a year. The supply chain will be ramped up towards omni-channel retailing with a quick turnaround time as per online demand.