Myntra in advanced talks to buy 5% stake in Wildcraft now

Online fashion retailer Myntra, along with its parent company Flipkart, is in advanced talks to pick up a 5% minority stake in outdoor and sportswear company Wildcraft, according to sources close to the deal. 
 
This 10-year-long partnership has been forged as part of Myntra's Brand Accelerator programme launched last year, which previously onboarded fashion brands like Chemistry and AKS.
 
"As part of this investment deal, Wildcraft products will exclusively be available online on all of Flipkart Group's marketplaces," said one of the persons cited above. "They will also explore omnichannel strategies where there could be an inventory integration similar to what Myntra has done with brands like Mango." 
 
Myntra declined to comment on queries sent by ET. A Wildcraft spokesperson said they constantly evaluate options to raise funds and "there is nothing concrete to share at this point of time."
 
Founded almost two decades ago by Gaurav Dublish, Siddharth Sood and Dinesh KS, Wildcraft primarily sells rucksacks, shoes, jackets, sleeping bags, tents and hiking accessories. It has manufacturing plants in Bengaluru and Himachal Pradesh and over 160 stores across the country. 
 
The Bengaluru-based company recorded sales worth Rs 400 crore in fiscal year 2016-17 and aims to clock Rs 550-600 crore in sales in FY18, co-founder Dublish had said last year, adding, "We have concrete plans of taking our business to Rs 1,000 crore in retail sales by FY 2019-20." The company raised close to Rs 70 crore in 2013 from Sequoia Capital, which valued Wildcraft at about Rs 350 crore for a 20% stake.
 
Experts believe Flipkart's focus now is to sell high-margin products and Wildcraft partnership fits right into that strategy. Sportswear and outdoor accessories are high-margin categories for retailers across the country at 30-40%, as per industry estimates.
 
"This partnership will benefit Wildcraft more since the company is much smaller in size when compared to Flipkart," said an analyst, requesting anonymity. "It (Wildcraft) will now not only have access to funds, but will also become a preferred seller on Flipkart's various marketplaces."
 
This deal also comes after Flipkart's announcement late last year to exclusively offer Decathlon sports goods on its platform. This partnership includes selling the entire range of Decathlon products from its offline stores, including fitness products, sports equipment, footwear, clothing and accessories, to be sold on Flipkart.
 
Retail experts believe that Flipkart is replicating the exclusive smartphone and television strategy in other categories to attract more users.
 
Rival Amazon India, too, is doing the same. The Seattle-headquartered company picked up 5% equity stake in departmental store chain Shoppers Stop in September through its investment arm. This investment had followed the announcement where Shoppers Stop entered into an exclusive partnership with Amazon Seller Services to sell its private labels and brands via Amazon.in.
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