Home / Industry / Retail /  Kishore Biyani attempts a Zara with Cover Story

Mumbai: On Monday, Cover Story, a fast fashion brand by Kishore Biyani’s Future Style Lab, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Future Group, opened its first standalone store in Infiniti mall in Malad, a suburb in Mumbai.

The 1,000 square feet store with rose gold fittings caters to 25-26-year-old women’s western wear market with styles that are inspired by international trends, catwalks and Instagram. Like the international fast fashion brands Zara and H&M, Cover Story will be refreshing 10% of its collection every week by adding new pieces and phasing out 10% as well.

Globally, fast fashion is the fastest growing segment in apparel and lifestyle retail, made popular by brands like H&M and Zara that are known to continually refresh their inventory and offer new collections to their consumers. For instance, new stock arrives twice every week at Zara.

Now as these global brands gain acceptance and expand in India, Biyani, who is known to continuously innovate and reinvent himself, is hoping to capture a slice of this market.

“Our intention is to build stores that are as large as those of H&M and Zara, right now the stores (Cover Story) are smaller," Biyani had said in an interview in April to Mint.

With Cover Story, the company has crunched the turnaround time from design to store by 50%. “We are able to get the design in store within 60 days," said Manjula Tiwari, chief executive office, Future Style Lab, who joined the company last year from fashion e-tailer Jabong.

Biyani has also managed to price the brand competitively with entry price points at 790, going up to 4,000, or an average pricing of 1,800.

The collection is manufactured across India, Korea and China as the company looks at creating a global brand for the Indian market. “Our business promises to deliver the latest trends while they are still latest," said Tiwari, while explaining that India does not manufacture all the fabric required to make an international collection and therefore it has put in place a global sourcing and supply chain.

The store comes with a selfie booth, or a large Android screen, which allows consumers to browse through the collection, click pictures and even print the picture or post it on social media sites like Facebook and share with friends on WhatsApp.

Currently, the brand is available in close to a dozen shop-in-shop stores within Central, a department retail chain from the fashion retail arm of the group, Future Lifestyle Fashions Ltd. It will be available online from next month in 50 physical locations over the next 3-4 years. The brand will be available in cities like Surat and Lucknow as well, said Tiwari, adding that pilot projects were received well in cities like Patna where some of the latest fashion styles were sold out immediately on launch.

To be sure, retailers across the board are upping the ante on fashion. “Earlier we were talking of two seasons a year. We are now at 4-6 seasons a year and will go to 6-8 seasons a year in the next 24 months. If a customer comes to our store every 6-8 weeks they will see something new," said Govind Shrikhande, managing director, Shoppers Stop Ltd, in an interview in March to Mint, while explaining that the merchandise mix from core versus fashion which was 50-50 is now 80:20, in which 80 is fashion.

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