23 February 2019
With the power of a manufacturing infrastructure that has the capability to churn out over 5 million pieces per year, Kewal Kiran Clothing Limited (KKCL) is becoming an inspiration for several stakeholders in the Indian apparel industry. The company is trudging upon a clear-cut path to success from being a job-worker, to a manufacturer, to now reaching the position of being a successful retail group. In FY17, it crossed the magic number of Rs 500 crore as its reported turnover.
“KKCL’s four apparel brands - Killer, Lawman, Integriti and Easies - comprise of products that address the needs of all profiles of the menswear consumers, be it diverse age groups, income levels or occasions. We give the clientele a complete look. The product mix has it all, bottomwear, topwear and accessories, while our fifth brand, Addiction, which features auxiliary categories such as head-to-toe personal care items and lifestyle products, closes the loop to make us a complete lifestyle store for men in India,” said Lakhbir Singh, Director- Indian Operations, Killer.
KKCL started its retail journey with its highest grossing brand Killer, one of the largest selling denim brands in India targeted at the age group of 16-25 years.
“It started off as a denim brand but is now a complete lifestyle brand offerings apparels, time-wear, eyewear and footwear,” Singh added.
Killer was the Indian denim retailer, which introduced new products such as Low Rise as well as Shreds’ jeans in India in 2004.
KKCL then tapped its capability of having one of the biggest denim-manufacturing units to launch another brand Lawman Pg3 in 1998. Offering apparel with louder design details than Killer, Lawman Pg3 features products for consumers between the age group of 18-25 years.
Launched around the same period, the semi-formal brand Easies that was established to fill the gap of comfort in corporate dressing for young executives for age group of 25-40. Addressing the demand of a niche customer base of college going youth, KKCL’s most recent launch has been Integriti. A mass brand that offers progressive styling in contemporary elements and combinations for both casual and formal attires, its product mix is carefully curated to penetrate this consumer segment that operates on lower income but yearns for fashion forward attires.
The four brands are placed strategically at all K-Lounge outlets to achieve compatibility between all categories and age groups. Killer continues to be the brand leader with 60 per cent of revenue share, while Integrity is the second-largest brand with 20 per cent share. Denim jeans is where KKCL’s strength lies with a significant contribution of about 62 per cent in its overall revenues, followed by cotton trousers and shirts and finally, basics that are retailed via an FMCG-model .
“The USP of the K-Lounge lies in its pocket-friendliness that allows customers to invest in the quality we provide without thinking about the cost-effectiveness. Killer and Lawman are at par when it comes to pricing, their fashion merchandise start from Rs 1,999 and go up to Rs 3,299, but the majority fall under the cap of Rs 2,799. Integriti, on the other hand, retails from Rs 799 onwards going up to Rs 2,400 for heavy items such as jackets and sweatshirts,” shared Singh.
Already marked its presence in the three tiers, it has expanded its horizons in Tier-4 markets. In fact the unheard Tier-4 cities such as Sangrur in Punjab, Dhulia in Maharashtra, Ballia and Azamgarh in UP and Hazaribagh in Jharkhand are contributing significantly to its total revenue. Singh highlighted: “Our market expansion to Tier-4 cities has been rewarding that we recorded a business worth Rs 60-70 lakh from Ballia. We owe this success to our channel partners, who have been working with us for about 20 years. Our command on distribution makes us the best trading partners because we service any request pan-India within 48 hours of the order being placed.”
KKCL operates through 186 K-Lounge stores and 120 EBOs with Brand Factory being its liquidation outlet as of Q2, 2018. The products being sold via Brand Factory are, “excess and assortment products that are two seasons old as we don't push fresh entries there. We always try to control the discount to the max because we don't believe in deep discounting and aggressive promotions”, said Singh.
The company is open towards sourcing product categories that lie out of the denimwear domain from the south-east Asian countries. This ensures that the quality of garments it is providing with internally produced denims is at par with its fashionable products in knits, cords and linen, which can be achieved at sharp pricing for larger quantities via these international manufacturers.
Singh further elaborated, “We outsource bomber jackets and zippers from Korea, Japan and China. When we have to buy something in corduroy, we source from Bangladesh and all our linen products are from Pakistan.”
Out of an impressive number of 318 retail touchpoints, MBOs continue to be the largest sales channel with 44 per cent share for KKCL with best response recorded for Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle and Central. Its performance in the e-commerce sector turned several heads in the industry as its sales through online portals grew by 107 per cent to Rs 14.31 crore in 2018.
The company believes in maintaining a stable growth of 15 per cent and doesn’t want a hasty growth plan that might lead to a downfall in the coming years. This format has been immensely useful for the retailer as it rose steadily from a business of Rs 75 crore in 2006 to that of Rs 550 crore in 2018.