Kewal Kiran Clothing Ltd (KKCL), a company considered among the top five private players in the apparel business in India, is in an expansion mode. Having achieved a growth rate of 15–20 per cent year-on-year and a turnover of ₹462 crore in 2018, KKCL is upbeat about its future. With the recent acquisition of womenswear brand Desi Belle (parent company is Resource World Exim Pvt Ltd), the company wants to go full throttle into womenswear-fusionwear and shed its image of a purely menswear company. For Desi Belle, the company is targeting a revenue of ₹200 crore for the next five years. The company wants to double its dealer / distributor network in 25 states and 209 cities. It wants to explore more tier 3-4 cities and small towns and villages—regions lying untapped so far. The company also wants to expand its number of retail stores to 336 from the last year count of 318. Bhavin Sheth, chief financial officer of KKCL explains, “As of now, my distribution network is roughly 125–130. This we are targeting to be 200+. As we increase our distribution penetration, those distributors will go out into the market. New retailers will give us additional sales. So, by triggering distribution and retail together, we will get 70–80 per cent of our topline business.”
Primarily an Indian brand
KKCL was started by Kewalchand Jain and his three brothers in the 1970s with just one thought in mind—they wanted to make denim and sell it, make a garment and sell it. By selling, they wanted to make money. Building a brand out of the business never crossed their minds. Many years later, in 1989, KKCL launched their flagship menswear brand—Killer. It was a costly brand from the price perspective. As the market evolved and the pricing pressure built up, the company decided to launch lower price-point brands to fight the economical brands. Thus, brands like Lawmanpg3, Integriti and Easies were born. Integrity has two sub-brands—Immortal and Reckless. The company also created a fifth brand— Addictions, which was more of a brand extension / brand aspiration. Addictions till date remains an accessories business; it does not make garments.
Whatever revenue By Paulami Chatterjee FIBRE2FASHION comes from Addictions, is purely as a licensing fee. The company has a presence in every single segment in menswear. Be it trousers / t-shirts, in men’s casualwear or khakis / chinos in men’s denimwear, KKCL has everything covered. The one thing noticeable about KKCL is that after all these years in the business, the company has preferred to remain more of an Indian brand, something proven by the fact that only 5 per cent of its revenue is generated through exports to Gulf countries. In Sheth’s words: “The Indian market is largely untapped. There is a lot of potential available to leverage the Indian market better. With a homegrown brand like ours, we want made in India, make in India and sell in India.”
According to Sheth, the brand which is growing at the fastest rate is unanimously Killer, which continues to dominate in terms of brand recall and revenue generation for the company. Lawmanpg3 is considered the second largest in the portfolio with Integriti and Easies picking up fast. When asked if KKCL wants to move into the premium segment with Killer, Sheth replies, “We are not saying that Killer is premium; we are saying that Killer is our flagship brand. Premium cannot be ₹2,000-2,500; premium generally starts at ₹5,000 and goes on. So, as of now, we are not thinking of entering the premium segment.” Similarly, the company wants to sell its brands across all segments. The company is clear in its vision when it says that it will not do SOR (sale-or-retail) business, and its business will purely be outlet-based, even at the risk of sacrificing its topline growth. Likewise, at a time when most brands are venturing into the omnichannel and modern retail space, the company does not want to venture into omni-channel, because they found other companies not getting much success out of it—something the company does not consider a feasible medium in the long run.