Flipkart invests Rs 260 cr in Arvind Youth Brands; to target small towns

Arvind Fashions has a portfolio of renowned brands, both international and indigenous
The Flipkart Group has invested Rs 260 crore for a significant minority stake in retailer Arvind Fashions’ (AFL) recently formed subsidiary Arvind Youth Brands, which owns the Flying Machine brand. The companies said this investment builds on the long-standing engagement between the two organisations that have been working together for several years to address the demands and needs of the fashion-conscious youth in India.

An Indian brand with a 40-year legacy, Flying Machine has been retailing on the Flipkart Group platforms of Flipkart and Myntra for more than 6 years. With its brand legacy, design sensibilities and youth appeal, Flipkart said the brand is seen as a strong style partner across metros and smaller towns. Through this investment, the Flipkart Group and Arvind Fashions will work collaboratively to identify opportunities and synergies to innovate and develop products with strong value propositions at attractive price points.

"Flying Machine is a brand that is known in households across India, popular with the youth and synonymous with value and style,” said  Kalyan Krishnamurthy, chief executive officer, Flipkart Group. “Through this investment, we look forward to partnering with the team at Arvind Youth Brands to continue to grow the market for its portfolio of products and enhance the strong brand equity that has been built over the last few decades," he said.

Arvind Fashions has a portfolio of renowned brands, both international and indigenous. Some of these brands include US Polo Assn., Arrow, GAP, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein. It is also India’s leading beauty retailer in partnership with Sephora. It owns and runs the value fashion retail chain, Unlimited.

"The partnership with the Flipkart Group will help us accelerate our online growth strategy as we focus our efforts on developing an omni-channel retail approach for Arvind Youth Brands and Flying Machine,” said J Suresh, managing director and CEO of Arvind Fashions. He said the company would continue to grow its offline sales through channels like exclusive brand stores, department stores and multi-brand stores.

Devangshu Dutta, CEO of retail consultancy Third Eyesight said this was a good time for any company that had the cash to pick up assets and the new investment would help Flipkart in the value-oriented segment.

“There are about 300 odd brands which have come into the country, but those are (mainly) restricted to the larger cities. When you look at the bulk of the market in terms of just sheer numbers and where the growth potential is, it is in the smaller cities and for targeting those you need a set of brands which actually fit the pocket,” said Dutta. “Flying Machine is one of the oldest and surviving denim brands in the country. It is a brand which fits well with the Indian consumer landscape. So in that sense, it is potentially a good asset (for Flipkart) to back and grow,” he said.

According to experts, fashion is a $100 billion market in the country with only 6 per cent having been penetrated by the online retail players. With the Covid-19 crisis and the lockdowns severely impacting businesses, experts said an increasing number of retailers, local shops and brands were now looking at e-commerce to jumpstart and scale their business. The pandemic has caused consumers to form new online buying habits and get the products home-delivered via e-commerce platforms to minimise exposure to the virus.

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