Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL) are looking at FY23 with cautious optimism and the company is on a growth trajectory with a digitally and structurally transformed business, its Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla has said. The Indian economy is headed towards a steady recovery and as the vaccination drives progress, consumers are expected to get back to shopping with renewed confidence, Birla said in the company’s annual report for 2021-22
“As mobility picks up, the demand for categories including formals, occasion wear, festive wear and accessories will recover,” he said. “The next fiscal is going to be a race to normalcy for the industry with re-invigorated market sentiments.”
For the long-term, India remains on a strong value creation path considering the underlying growth drivers like favourable demographics, increasing per capita and disposable income, and growing consumption.
Given the inherent strengths of ABFRL, “we are again at a moment where we are uniquely positioned to invest for long-term growth and explore new paradigms”, he added.
ABFRL, which has substantially invested in digital platforms such as e-commerce, omnichannel and D2C business post-pandemic, will continue investing in building its digital capabilities further to make it intrinsic to its business model, the report said.
“With a digitally and structurally transformed business, your Company is on a growth trajectory to make the most of post-pandemic opportunities,” he added.
More than 1,000 stores of Madura brands and 300 stores of Pantaloons are now fully omnichannel enabled. ABFRL’s e-commerce channel posted strong growth, with the category growing almost three-fold over previous years.
ABFRL, under Madura Fashion and Lifestyle business, is a repertoire of leading apparel brands such as Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly and Peter England.
“The Lifestyle business, at the back of its strong brand portfolio and aggressive e-commerce and omnichannel expansion, recovered to pre-pandemic levels, gained market share and achieved record revenues this year despite braving multiple COVID waves,” said ABFRL.
Its international brands portfolio includes The Collective, India’s largest multi-brand retailer of international brands, Simon Carter and selects mono-brands such as Forever 21, American Eagle, Ralph Lauren, Ted Baker and Fred Perry.
It also owns fashion retail chain Pantaloons having over 370 stores spread across 180 cities. ABFRL has in FY22 entered into a long-term licensing agreement with Reebok, getting exclusive rights to distribute and sell products through wholesale, e-commerce and Reebok branded retail stores in India
As recovery happens, at the back of its bouquet of strong brands, it will reinforce its leadership position in the Indian fashion and apparel sector, ABFRL said.
“The recovery trend observed in the fourth quarter of this fiscal is a testimony to the temporary nature of the impact of the pandemic and the resilient consumer sentiment, which is pointing towards getting back to the stores and shopping, as soon as it is safe to move outside,” the company said. The future for the Indian apparel industry looks promising, buoyed by strong domestic consumption and export demand.
“The per capita consumption of apparel will grow swiftly in the times ahead fuelled by aspirational buying and an organised market play,” ABFRL added. For the financial year ended March 31, 2022, ABFRL’s revenue was at Rs 8,136 cr.