Woodland shoes to invest Rs 100 cr, plans China expansion

Footwear major Woodland is planning to invest around Rs 100 crore in the current fiscal to increase its own brand outlets from the current 350 stores to 410 stores. The company, which entered the Chinese market recently through distribution in multibrand outlets, is planning to set up its own stores in the country in the next two to three years, said a senior official from Woodland.

“We are planning to set up around 60 new stores in India, which would require an investment of around Rs 90 crore,” said Harkirat Singh, managing director, Woodland. The company, at present, has around 350 own outlets with a presence through around 4,000 retailers.
“Besides, we would be expanding the capacity with new technologies to produce two million more pairs as against our current capacity of 4-5 million pairs every year,” he added.
The company, a part of Aero Group which has been in the outdoor shoe industry for around 60 years, has production facilities in Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal, apart from manufacturing through vendors in cities like Bangalore and Mumbai. Almost 70 per cent of the production is through its own facilities, while the rest is contributed by vendors.

As a part of its market expansion, the company is selling products in West Asia and has plans to enter some of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. Meanwhile, it has entered the Hong Kong market around three months ago with distribution through multibrand outlets.

“We are looking at setting up our own stores in Hong Kong and China. We would start with Hong Kong in another one to two years as a gateway to the Chinese market where we would set up our own stores in the next two to three years,” added Singh.

The expansion to China would be through its foreign arm, Woodland Asia-Pacific, Singapore, and plans are to set up 5-10 stores in the pilot stage. The Chinese market potential is almost three to four times bigger than the Indian market and with the regulations and the retail industry in China changing favourably, which attracts the company to this market, he added.

While it has been focusing on outdoor shoe industry earlier, the company expects its formal, fashion and party shoe business, which it launched as Woods almost four years ago, to grow to around Rs 250 crore this year. The Woods business, which caters to the super luxury segment with focus on women, is currently at around Rs 150 crore.

The company has also recently launched a new line of business, Woodland Youth, to cater to the teenage customers.

Besides, it is planning to launch creams and lotions, for eyes and skin, which would protect its customers from various adverse weather conditions. It has tied up with a German company, BNS, and plans are to import the product to India. The products are ready and would be launched in September-October this year, he added.

“At present, around 60 per cent of our total turnover is from footwear, 30 per cent from apparels and the rest of 10 per cent from accessories like backpacks and belts. Going forward, the sales of accessories will increase,” said Singh. He added that the company was looking at adding more equipment into the product basket, to act the outlets as a one stop shop for people who loves trecking.

The company, which clocked Rs 700 crore sales last year, is expecting the sales to touch Rs 1,000 crore this fiscal year.

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