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Landmark Group-owned Max Fashion, known for its budget-friendly clothing, footwear and accessories, has mapped out a plan to expand its footprint in India, including the opening of additional stores and the introduction of new collections aimed at young people.

The move comes as value apparel retail is increasingly seeing more action from rivals such as Trent’s Zudio and Shoppers Stop’s Intune, which was recently launched by the latter. Reliance Retail, which runs Reliance Trends, an affordable fashion chain, is looking to give a facelift to the brand, according to industry sources.

Max Fashion will set up 100 stores in the next one year, taking its outlet count to close to 600, company officials said. At the same time, Max Fashion has opened its largest store in the country in Kochi, Kerala, to provide a big-box retail experience to consumers.

The Kochi store will not only include retail space for fashion and lifestyle products (over 20,000 sqft), but will also have a 5,000-sqft area for home products under its Home Centre brand, executives said.

“With an expansive 25,000-sqft store in Kochi, consumers will be spoilt for choice,” Sumit Chandna, deputy CEO, Max Fashion India, said. “This is our 465th store in India,” he added.

The scale-up in operations by Max Fashion will pit it directly against Zudio, which has big plans for the future. At Trent’s FY23 annual general meeting held recently, the company said it would open 200 stores of Zudio in FY24, much higher than estimates of analysts. In FY23, Trent opened 117 Zudio outlets taking the total store count of the brand to 352.

In contrast, Trent added only 14 Westside stores in FY23, taking the total Westside count to 214.

“Most retailers have been calling out a moderation in apparel sales in the last few quarters, which is linked in part to a discretionary slowdown in the market,” G Chokkalingam, founder and MD at Mumbai-based Equinomics Research, said. “The move to tap the value retail space more aggressively is in keeping with the larger trend of limited spending on non-essential products that has been visible among consumers of late,” he says.

Harminder Sahni, co-founder of Gurgaon-based retail consultancy Wazir Advisors, says that the shift towards value retail will help companies catch consumers who are shifting from unbranded to branded products.

“While premiumization is happening at one level, there is still a very large market that is moving from unbranded to branded products. Value retail is designed for this audience,” he says.

Max Fashion has positioned its products at an economical Rs 129 per unit for kids and Rs199 onwards for youth.

Shoppers Stop’s Intune has priced its products at under Rs 500 per unit for men, women and children and so has Zudio.

“Intune is a ‘Fashion For All’ format, which is one of our strategic initiatives to cater to young families,” Venu Nair, MD & CEO, Shoppers Stop, said in an investor call last week. While three stores have been launched in the last two months, three more are in the fitout stage, the company said.


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