Bangalore: Myntra is introducing plus-size clothes for women under its own brands, as it seeks to improve margins and extend its lead over rivals such as Jabong and Amazon.com Inc. by expanding its product offering.
Myntra, India’s largest online fashion retailer, launched tops and dresses priced between Rs900 and Rs2,500 for plus-size women this week and will sell men’s plus-size apparel later this year, chief operating officer Ganesh Subramanian said in an interview. Plus-size apparel accounts for up to 15% of the $60 billion apparel market, most of which is unorganized, Myntra estimates.
“There’s a lack of focus on plus-size apparel. Most retailers offer only larger sizes rather than design products specifically for this category. We didn’t have this category, so it fills a gap in our portfolio,” Subramanian said. “This is also part of our move to become a fashion destination for women.”
The new products are being sold under three of Myntra’s own labels, Dressberry, D Muse and Roadster.
The company, which raised $50 million from Premji Invest and other investors in January, also launched lingeries and similar products for women under its Dressberry label this week, priced between Rs400 and Rs900, Subramanian said.
Myntra and other online fashion retailers are increasing their focus on women who are expected to significantly increase their online shopping spending in the coming years.
Among the large e-commerce firms, Myntra has also taken the lead in generating more of its business from owned labels, which offer higher margins than external brands. Myntra has seven private-label brands, which contribute about 18-20% to sales. The online retailer hopes the private label business will generate as much as 30-33% of its business over the next two to three years. It may introduce two new private label brands this year and is also looking at launching kids apparel, Subramanian said.
The fashion apparel and accessories category, which offers higher margins to online retailers compared with books and electronics, is getting increasingly competitive.
Sales of online fashion products doubled to $559 million in 2013 and are expected to increase by 400% over the next three years, according to a March report by venture capital firm Accel Partners, one of the investors in Myntra and Flipkart. The online fashion category will be as large as electronics within three years, report estimated.
Amazon said last month that it started selling apparel with launch of ethnic clothes on its site. Amazon’s entry is likely to put further pressure on online fashion market leaders Myntra and Jabong to maintain or increase the already-high discount rate.
India’s largest e-commerce firm Flipkart and rival Snapdeal have also been trying to build their apparel business. Snapdeal said on Tuesday it is setting up an exclusive online brand store for Puma, a brand which earlier worked exclusively with Myntra to launch online initiatives.
“Our focus as a specialized fashion retailer gives us an edge,” Subramanian said. “No doubt competition will intensify, but the market will also increase exponentially and our specialisation allows us to focus on delivering the best and latest fashion, which will be a key differentiator.”
Myntra is in advanced discussions to sell a majority stake to Flipkart, in what is set to be the largest deal in India’s fledgling e-commerce business, Mint reported last week. Flipkart and Myntra have three common investors, Accel Partners, Tiger Global Management and Sofina Capital.