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New Delhi: Flipkart-owned online retailer Myntra and sportswear retailer Puma said they are eyeing 500 crore in annual turnover for the sportswear brand on the online platform over the next one year, riding on increased digital shopping by consumers and the popularity of athleisure wear during the pandemic.

Puma has been selling its products on Myntra for a decade but the two will now deepen their engagement with Puma dropping more of its pricey global sneaker collections exclusively on Myntra, doubling down its kids wear collection and increasing its women’s wear offering on the platform. “I think women's category is very important for us and we will be very strong on that front. The kid's category is growing...and the third clearly is ‘sneaker drops’ every month, and a lot of it will be only on Myntra," said Abhishek Ganguly, managing director, Puma India and Southeast Asia.

On Myntra, athleisure has witnessed strong demand in the last few months. “What happened in covid, it's actually true of most brands, but with Puma the relationship only got stronger and bigger, because there were headwinds in terms of sports category, going into lockdown and coming out of the lockdown," said Amar Nagaram, CEO, Myntra.

Puma is the top-selling international sportswear brand on Myntra. The brand’s market share soared on the platform within the sportswear and athleisure category since the unlocking, he added.

“What has definitely changed ever since we went into a lockdown or ever since we started with unlock 1.0 was that people started buying more of fashion essentials and what we mean by fashion essentials is track pants shorts, and t-shirts," Nagaram said. With the work from home trend likely to continue well into the next year, these categories will benefit from increased consumer demand.

However, the deeper relationship between Puma and Myntra comes at a time when India's top online retailers are stitching exclusive tie-ups with offline retailers and expanding their range in view of more permanent shift in shopping habits owing to covid-19. More shoppers from India’s smaller cities are expected to come online and for many of these first-time customers fashion and electronics are the first touch point on e-commerce platforms.

Amazon, Walmart-backed Flipkart and Reliance Retail’s Ajio are actively eyeing a share of India’s massive retail market across grocery, electronics and fashion. Already, Flipkart Group bought a minority stake in Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL) for Rs1,500 crore. In July, it acquired a small stake in Arvind Youth Brands, which owns Flying Machine.

Puma retails through over 370 doors in India, but draws a significant share of its sales from online channels as it was an early adopter of e-commerce in India.

“We have been very clear that Myntra, in the online consumer segment, is clearly our focus platform. From a positioning perspective, it is the most premium platform for us in terms of the kind of average selling price the platform drives for Puma," said Ganguly.

Comfort wear sales are unlikely to cool down anytime soon, said market watchers. “Puma is in a price band where customer segments that appeal to Puma are financially and socially secure during the lockdown. Athleisure has now basically become comfort wear. As a result, being aggressive about online is a no-brainer," Ankur Bisen, senior vice president, retail and consumer at management consulting firm Technopak.

Puma that clocked a total income of 1,413.26 crore for the year ended December 2019 will continue opening stores in India despite the company setting an ambitious target for online sales. “That does not take away the fact that there is the opportunity for people wanting to come to stores. We have opened about 18 stores this year, even during the year of the pandemic, and will continue to open stores," said Ganguly.

Exclusive merchandise aside, the two brands will also use Myntra’s tech insights to offer new collections and price points to shoppers.

Myntra’s Nagaram said the retailer is in active conversations with other brands to set up such revenue targets. "We will continue to have conversations with the brands where our vision for our consumers' value proposition gets aligned," he said.

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