ITC Limited plans to take the 'Wills Sport' brand overseas. The company is, currently scripting the plan, is looking at setting up Wills Lifestyle stores in several countries.
In India, ITC has drawn up plans to create 50 Wills Lifestyle stores by March end. The company also intends to double the number by July 2003. The Wills Lifestyle network will have a mix of company-leased and franchised outlets.
The company plans to invest roughly Rs 150 crore to set up a network of 100 stores in India.
ITC created its lifestlye retailing business division two-and-a-half years ago as part of its diversification into retailing.
The product range and ambience at the stores have been designed by San Francisco-based American Design Intelligence Group, a company with experience in store designing and merchandising.
ITC is following a dual branding strategy: Wills Sport will be unisex apparel brand, while Wills Lifestyle will be the retail brand.
ITC has put into play its number of core competencies in diversifying into new businesses such as lifestyle retailing, packaged foods and greeting cards. The strategy is meant as a hedge against the uncertainties of the tobacco business.
The group is also looking at entering the distribution business, where the company will market and distribute products of fast moving consumer goods companies.