Footwear brand Woodland to ramp up presence in North East
According to Harkirat Singh, Managing Director, Woodland had previously been slow in expanding in the North East. However, with increase in trade queries and some existing stores turning profitable in quick succession, it makes more business sense now.
It plans around nine-odd stores in Kolkata and the North East over the next one year. While three-four will be in Kolkata, other places being explored include Tezpur, Guwahati, Aizawl, Itanagar and Kohima.
At present it has three stores in Guwahati, and one each in Tezpur, Gangtok, Shillong and Agartala.
All the new stores in the region will be company-owned.
“We will look to tap the North East. Woodland has been slow in tapping the region as we weren’t sure how the area will react to our offerings. But, with some of the existing stores there turning profitable in quick succession, we are confident of doing good business there,” Singh told BusinessLine.
The brand’s Gangtok store had been able to turn profitable in one of the shortest time spans — within one year of inauguration. In fact, a majority of the North East stores are profitable, said Singh.
“We found a lot of pent-up demand for our outdoor offerings like footwear and jackets. Our outdoor offerings would also be a good fit in the hilly regions of the North East,” he added.
REGION SPECIFIC OFFERINGS
Incidentally, Woodland gained popularity as an adventure brand with rugged footwear and jackets. This had somewhat limited its presence to select markets that experience harsher winters or extreme weather conditions. In markets like the East, it gained prominence (during its early days) as a winter wear maker.
However, over the years, the brand has worked on its offerings with apparels now accounting for nearly 35 per cent of its revenues. Another 15-odd per cent comes from accessories.
In fact, it also focuses on region-specific offerings that include lighter jackets and windcheaters for select markets and heavier ones for cold weather.
In the South Indian markets, it focuses on slippers/sandals and chappals.
In recent times, it has also launched canvas sneakers that are mostly sold through multi-brand formats. It is also exploring other footwear offerings in the non-leather segment.
“We are open to region-specific offerings,” Singh said.