Wildcraft to invest Rs 350 crore by 2021
The Bangalore-based company is innovating across categories to bring in newer offerings

Wildcraft, the India-born transnational outdoor & adventure active lifestyle goods company, is looking at having 200 retail outlets next fiscal and 300 stores by 2021. The Bangalore-based company will be coughing up nearly Rs 350 crore by 2021 for executing its expansion plans and various marketing initiatives, top company officials said.

“We will continue with our retail strategy of adding a minimum of 30 offline outlets every year in tier 1, 2 and 3 cities across India. We will cross 200 retail outlets next fiscal. By 2021, we are looking at 300 stores. We are aiming to be present in Tier 2 & 3 markets to ensure outdoor enthusiasts & travelers have access to our products,” said Gaurav Dublish, co-founder, Wildcraft.

The company at present, owns 160 exclusive brand outlets and sells its products through over 4500 multi branded stores across 550 cities including Tier 2 & 3 and 750 SIS (Shop in shops).

Wildcraft’s move to go on an expansion mode stems from the fact that the outdoor gear, footwear & active sportswear in India is already estimated to a $3bn industry and is growing at 40 per cent+ CAGR over the last 5 years.

Once its retail plans are properly executed, it hopes to notch up retail sales of Rs 1000 crore in the next three years. In the FY 2016-17, the company notched up a retail sales revenue of Rs 400 crore.

“There are limited brands in India that are currently targeting the outdoor segment. Most of them the foreign players that are now entering the market, are borrowing from their catalogue developed for a very different problem set (cold, modern infrastructure, etc.) with limited price value mix vis-a-vis Wildcraft. In Sportswear, Nike, Adidas, Puma, Decathlon, Reebok & in Travel gear, Samsonite, VIP are players in adjacent product lines. In Outdoors, there’s Columbia which has some presence in India. Fortunately, we have seen a growth across all our categories, especially outdoor apparel & footwear in Menswear. Given the rise of women outdoor enthusiasts, there has been a growth in the women’s category as well,” said Dublish.

And it’s not just within India, but the one-year old fledgling brand already has been able to establish its footprint across tropical countries in ME & SEA. While in India it has taken us over a decade, in new markets our entry and distribution has been bolstered from our learnings in India and we are quicker at forming key relationships in markets of choice. Apart from India, Wildcraft today has its footprint across more than 11 countries across Middle East & South-East Asia including UAE, Saudi, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Nepal, Sri Lanka & in process to have its presence in Africa & Europe. The company stepped out of India and started in the Middle East first. It has then started in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and few other South East Asian countries. In Kathmandu, it has its own store and plans to open another one there. In February, it did its first tie-up in Europe. From the revenue side, 5 per cent of its business comes from exports at present, he said.

When it comes to e-tailing, online sales contributes around 12 per cent of the sales at present, while this year the company is expecting it to be slightly higher at 14-15 per cent. In the Rs 1,000 crore retail sales plan by 2021, online sale is expected to contribute above 15 per cent.

Asked about its brand positioning, Dublish said, “Wildcraft stands for a brand that embraces the unknown, uncertain & unplanned. When the unexpected happens, an adventure begins. Ultimately, we believe that if you consistently look for market insights & be persistent with innovation – there’s a market waiting in India. We took against the grain was to start manufacturing in India in 2007, before the Make in India initiative. It started out of necessity since we could not find any reputed manufacturers abroad who could manufacture in the small volumes we required initially. Today Wildcraft operates two manufacturing units, one at Bangalore and the other in Solan, Himachal Pradesh.”

He added, “Doing the manufacturing locally helped us understand our products and designs better. And being able to generate employment for people this way gives us a big high. Importantly, basis our roots we built the brand with focus on Outdoors ethos. Making product lines that are functionally exceptionally superior that help equip people to embrace the unexpected, the uncertain & assists them be ‘ready for anything’. We want to be known as a head to toe outfitter brand who cater to every need of an individual when they step outdoors.”

Wildcraft is also innovating across categories to bring in newer offerings like our waterproof shoes, vented travel-wear shirts and suspended back-system rucksacks.

ritwikmukherjee@mydigitalfc.com

Columnist: 
Ritwik Mukherjee