Woodland treads hi-tech shoes, jackets

Imagine this: a jacket that allows you to control temperature, shoes that can keep you warm, other footwear that give you calorie counts and absorb sweat to keep your feet dry. Now, imagine giving such imagination dimensions of reality. In fact, Woodland has done it already. It has got an array of such products lined up for launch this year.

Woodland is also planning to add 60 stores next fiscal to take its total store count to 340. It is also investing around Rs100 crore in capacity addition at its existing 25 plants, out of which 15 are for shoes and ten for apparel and accessories. In addition, two more units will be added this year.

Harkirat Singh, CEO of Woodland, says differentiated apparel and footwear are the firm’s unique selling point or USP.

Woodland plans to capitalise on this. “We do have some other products in our portfolio like shoes that have anti-bacterial properties and the ones that allow you to adjust the sole as per the terrain. We are planning to come up with more such products,” said Singh.

Woodland is also extending into skincare products which will be launched by August-September. Manufacture of the product has been outsourced to a German firm.

“Since outdoor adventure is a key focus area for Woodland, skincare products that are protective (like foot balm, insect repellant, sunscreen lotion), not cosmetic, will supplement our offerings,” said Singh.

At Woodland, this fiscal’s sales target of `800 crore is likely to be exceeded by Rs50 crore. This at a time when retailers across India are complaining of poor sales even during peak seasons.

“We have done better that our estimates as we increased our reach to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, and that has paid off. Our e-commerce website is also generating good sales. We also focused a lot on outdoor activities – camping, travelling, so on -- and even that helped,” said Singh.

Asa result, Woodland has set a sales target of Rs1,000 crore for the next fiscal and is mulling possible direct forays into overseas markets like China, Hong Kong, Australia and South Africa.

Currently, the company distributes and sells goods outside India via distributors. Now, it is scouting for local partners to set up independent retail outlets by 2014-15. Next stops:Latin America, Africa and eastern Europe.

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