As Indians increasingly take to yoga, apparel brands are seeking to cash in on the opportunity to make a few bucks.
The Pantaloon group's Indus League Clothing plans to expand its retail operations for 'Urban Yoga', a yoga clothing and accessories brand. Apart from doubling retail presence, the company also plans to take the brand to the UK apart from exploring opportunities in other markets.
Urban Yoga brand is currently available in 23 Pantaloon stores and in several multi-brand outlets like Central and Shoppers' Stop across the country. "At present, Urban Yoga occupies 14,000 square feet of retail space.
This will be doubled to 28,000 square feet in the next 12 months. Also, the number of exclusive outlets will go up to 12," Indus League Clothing executives said.
The exclusive outlets will come up in Goa, Ahmedabad, Gurgaon, Baroda, Chennai, Pune, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi.
The company claims that Urban Yoga is the only Indian brand of clothing and accessories for men and women designed with yoga in mind.
"Most of yoga clothing in India are supplied by foreign firms," said Rahul Taneja, brand manager-Urban Yoga, Indus League Clothing. The company has even launched two concept stores called 'Urban Yoga Centre' in Bangalore and Hyderabad to promote yoga.
It plans to launch such centres in Pune and Mumbai. Another plan on the line is the launch of the Urban Yoga brand in the UK market.
"We are in the process of tying up with a UK distributor. The brand launch will happen in January," Taneja said and added that the company is exploring other markets like South Africa, Japan and Mauritius.
Analysts claim that the market for yoga-related products is huge. At REI, the specialty outdoor store in the US, sales of yoga mats, blocks and other props went up by 98 per cent in 2004.
"Yoga is becoming a high value brand platform drawing strength from Indian Intellectual Property," said Unni Krishnan, CEO, Brand Finance India, a brand valuation consultancy.
According to the consultancy, $20 billion is annually spent on yoga products in the US alone. Yoga enthusiasts spend on accessories ranging from $400 onwards on Marc Jacobs-designed mat bags to Juicy Couture yoga pants. In comparison, the current price range Urban Yoga products are from Rs 399 to Rs 1,200 ($9 to $27).Indus-League Clothing Ltd, founded in 1999 by a team of eight professionals from the clothing industry, recorded revenue of Rs 150 crore (Rs 1.5 billion) during the last fiscal. In January 2005, the Kishore Biyani-managed Pantaloon Industries acquired a 68 per cent stake in the company.