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Bengaluru: Online beauty retailer Nykaa, which entered the unicorn club recently, is betting big on fashion and has seen sales recover by over 90% compared to pre-covid levels, said a top executive.

Nykaa Fashion, which was launched in 2018, currently lists more than 600 brands and expects to have 200 more by the end of the year.

“Fashion may be nearly 20% of our GMV (gross merchandise volume) in the near term. And we are working towards building it to almost 40% of our business in the next 3-5 years ... our fashion category is already trending 160% of February (or business as usual) levels," Falguni Nayar, founder and CEO, Nykaa said in an interview.

As covid-19 continues to disrupt businesses, Nykaa is capitalising on the trend of offline fashion retailers trying to sell their inventory online, as customers flock to shop virtually.

Nayar said it was a tactical shift for fashion brands to shift online and they leveraged e-commerce platforms for stock clearance.

“…However, we at Nykaa pride ourselves on a small percentage of our goods being discounted. With offline stores being disrupted, fashion brands want to sell 20-30% of their goods on e-commerce, and with that they are bringing their new seasons online," she said.

“For a lot of fashion brands, which continue to look at India as a strong growth market, and establish a presence, Nykaa is not just an online retailer, but also has a strong omni-channel play with offline stores. And brands are looking to partner with us to not just help them create a presence but also retail their products, creating an end-to-end." said Anchit Nayar, CEO, Retail, Nykaa.

NykaaMan, its personal care offering for men, will also constitute 5-8% of the overall business this year, while for its beauty category, private labels will be less than 20% of its consolidated sales.

During the lockdown, Nykaa saw sales drop as much as 70% in April and started listing essential products to avoid overwhelming customers with non-deliverable inventory. Subsequently, Nykaa also started optimising its 70 pan-India stores by providing hyperlocal delivery.

Nykaa has also seen a consumer shift towards essential categories, including personal skin and hair care products.

“The essential business, which includes everything apart from cosmetics and fragrances, continues to be very strong and is performing at a much higher percentage share, compared to pre-covid. In July, during our sale, we also saw customers buying makeup. Personal care including skin and hair products are definitely making up for the loss in makeup and other categories," added Nayar.

During the crisis, it also saw its luxury category, which includes perfumes and premium skincare brands, grow from 15% (pre-covid) to 19% of the overall GMV sold.

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