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Business News/ Companies / Westside to open 20-30 stores next fiscal, ramp up e-commerce ops
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Westside to open 20-30 stores next fiscal, ramp up e-commerce ops

Westside’s e-commerce is currently a small part of its business at around 6% to 7%.

As of March 2023, Westside operated 214 stores across 90 cities. As of the December quarter FY24, the retailer operated 227 stores in 89 cities. Photo: BloombergPremium
As of March 2023, Westside operated 214 stores across 90 cities. As of the December quarter FY24, the retailer operated 227 stores in 89 cities. Photo: Bloomberg

Fashion focussed department store chain Westside is planning to open between 20 and 30 stores next fiscal and ramp up e-commerce operations over the next 12 months, said a top executive at the retailer.

Westside, a part of Tata's Trent Ltd, is on track to add 25 new stores in the current fiscal. “We are continuing store expansion at the same rate. We'll open the same number of stores next year as last year. We'd like to have more presence in the north and the north east India," said Shailina Parti, chief operating officer at Westside, Trent Ltd. 

As of March 2023, Westside operated 214 stores across 90 cities. As of the December quarter FY24, the retailer operated 227 stores in 89 cities. 

Westside’s e-commerce is currently a small part of its business. The retailer started its e-commerce operations in 2020-2021.

“So, 50% of our online sales come via the app. We didn't really have an app that was working for us two years ago. Westside didn't really have an online business two years ago, it was tiny. It's still small as a percentage of overall sales, sitting at about 6% to 7% but that's where the opportunity is because we want to really grow that to over 10% over the next few years," Parti said.

“We are also conscious that the online market drives huge revenues, but it's always hard to drive profits (online). Our dotcom sales are profitable," said Parti.

The retailer does not sell on any third-party marketplaces other than the group’s e-commerce platform Tata Cliq. 

“The online growth in the last six months has come through things that we have worked on say customer deliveries, website redesign, app redesign, everything that's needed to drive digital commerce is being worked on. So, we should start to see those benefits unfold in the next financial year," said Parti, who joined Westside in May 2022.

In fiscal 2023, Trent Ltd reported a revenue of 8,213 crore with a profit after tax of 555 crore. Trent operates multiple formats such as Zudio, apart from a supermarket concept operating under the Star brand. 

Westside offers branded fashion apparel, footwear and accessories for women, men and children, along with a range of home furnishings and decor. The company also operates Zara stores in India via its joint venture Inditex Trent Retail India Pvt. Ltd.

The retailer competes with Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail's Pantaloons, apart from Shoppers Stop, Landmark Group's Lifestyle. among others.

Westside registered 49% like-for-like growth in sales in FY23, according to the company's annual report. 

The retailer is working on new product ideas to drive both premium products in the apparel portfolio as well as expand the non-apparel category. 

“We're looking at ensuring that we have a balance across the portfolio of brands we offer. Increasingly we’re seeing huge growth in more premium products. We're not changing the strategy but we're offering more space and more focus on those brands that are at a slightly higher price point," she said. 

“We need the value but we also need the exit (price point) so you get the full offer. Consumers are choosing to buy value but throw in premium as well," she added.

Apparel accounts for 70% of the retailer’s business. “We are going to focus on expanding non-apparel. We'd like to build footwear, lingerie, swimwear, and do more in the beauty and home space," Parti added.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Suneera Tandon
Suneera Tandon is a New Delhi based reporter covering consumer goods for Mint. Suneera reports on fast moving consumer goods makers, retailers as well as other consumer-facing businesses such as restaurants and malls. She is deeply interested in what consumers across urban and rural India buy, wear and eat. Suneera holds a masters degree in English Literature from the University of Delhi.
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Published: 01 Mar 2024, 03:57 PM IST
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