The rivalry between two of the country’s best-known retailers – Reliance Retail and Nykaa – is beginning to play out in multiple categories. After Reliance Retail stepped into the beauty retail space in April with Tira, an online-and-offline beauty destination, to counter Nykaa, the country’s largest organised retailer has set its sights on the women’s inner wear market.
Around 60-70% of the $6-billion inner wear market in India is unorganised, with the balance 30-40% being organised with online and offline brands. The organised market is growing at around 15-20% per annum, making it a compelling story for retailers, industry experts said.
To be sure, Reliance Retail has six inner wear brands in its portfolio, including private label Hush retailed through Reliance Trends, acquired digital brands Clovia, Zivame and Amante and partnerships with international brands Marks & Spencers and Hunkemoller, persons in the know said.
But what has been missing in its portfolio are retail stores dedicated to inner wear. Reliance Retail is now piloting a new retail format in the inner wear segment called Blush Lace, according to informed sources, and may formally launch these stores in the next few months, targeting the mass market, including tier II and III cities. Reliance Retail executives were not immediately available for comment.
Thee effort from Reliance Retail, however, comes as Nykaa makes steady inroads into the inner wear market with Nykd, its in-house brand that is available both online and offline. The company has rolled out six stores so far of Nykd in cities such as Bengaluru, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mysore and is slowly emerging as a strong player in the category with a combination of good designs, affordable price points and easy-to-navigate tutorials, a strategy it has successfully used in beauty retail. Annual sales of Nykd have touched `85 crore within three years of launch, Nykaa said during its recent investor day, with plans to scale up operations as business booms in the category.
“Though a large part of the inner wear market in India is fragmented, over the last few years, the market has seen the entry of national and international brands as general awareness and disposable incomes grow among consumers. The presence of online players has also helped grow the organised market and most brands, whether online or offline, have an omni-channel strategy to tap consumers,” Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of Gurugram-based retail consultancy Third Eyesight, said.
Apart from lingerie, Blush Lace will have women’s accessories, beauty and skin care products, loungewear, shapewear and sleep essentials as it seeks to position itself as a one-stop shop for all things inner wear.
While Reliance Retail’s current portfolio of inner wear brands will be part of Blush Lace’s catalogue, the company may introduce more brands in the future to drive footfalls, informed sources said. For Nykaa, on the other hand, Nykd, along with 20 Dresses, another owned brand from the company, will be big focus areas in the future.