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Forever New to grow 4x in the next 5 years: Dhruv Bogra, Country Head

Melbourne-based fashion brand Forever New has recently announced that it has deployed end-to-end post purchase technology stack of Unicommerce to strengthen its omnichannel operations.

In a freewheeling chat with IMAGES Business of Fashion, Dhruv Bogra, Country Head, Forever New said, “We have made omnichannel capabilities a top priority in order to provide excellent customer delight. Our organisation has been concentrating on this sector for some years and has a long-standing relationship with our technology partners.”

Excerpts from the exclusive…

Tell us about your brand’s journey.

Forever New is a leading womenswear fashion brand headquartered in Melbourne, Australia with presence in ANZ region, North America, South Africa, the Middle East, United Kingdom, India and South-East Asia. In India, it is positioned as a bridge-to-luxury brand.

Touted as one of the most desirable womenswear brands in India, Forever New is known for its impeccable quality and in-trend styling as well as classic looks. We are now a Rs 225 crore+ brand.

We are present in over 34 cities across 40 EBOs and 50 Shop-in-Shops such as Shopper’s Stop and Kapsons. We are also available online on our own e-commerce platform as well third party marketplaces such as Myntra, Nykaa and Ajio. We will soon be available at Lifestyle International stores as well.

Tell us about your collaboration with omnichannel platform, Unicommerce. How do you see technology benefitting both your brand and customers in the long run?

We have made omnichannel capabilities a top priority in order to provide excellent customer delight. Our organisation has been concentrating on this sector for some years and has a long-standing relationship with our technology partners. The technology has helped us strengthen our operations in India and improve the shopping experience for our customers, who appreciate discovering new collections through various sales channels.

What is your retail strategy in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and towns?

We are currently present with 40 EBOs in 20 cities of which 14 stores are in tier 1 and tier 2. We intend to accelerate and double our stores in tier 1 and 2 and enter tier 3 over the next two years to consolidate our position and occupy most key mall locations and high streets in metros and tier 1 cities.

Owing to scarcity of retail space, expansion has been a challenge for premium fashion brands. How serious a problem does this pose?

We have grown over by 120% in 2019 and our future growth rests on the availability of enhanced and premium shopping destination. However, expansion and resizing to a larger space within an existing mall to enable a larger business is a challenge today due to the profusion of brands, the pressure on limited space, and the lag in the growth and supply of premium to super premium shopping malls. New high streets are not emerging at a scale that is needed and therefore there is an opportunity to create more infra and focus around developing high street shopping also. On the brighter side, there are some amazing malls that are coming up in 2023 which had got delayed due to the pandemic, but the industry needs more supply and quite rapidly, to fulfill the growing demand for brands like Forever New.

Where does the Indian consumer stand today when it comes to shopping in the premium segment?

The Indian consumer continues to evolve sharply. S/he is more focussed on brand quality, style and overall value proposition. There is a higher expectation from the shopping experience and service, both offline and online accompanied by a growing awareness of sustainable fashion for which Forever New is highly respected. More than 90% of our range today fulfills all sustainability criteria. The bridge-to-luxury segment in which Forever New is operating, is growing the fastest as her fashion choices become more discerning and sophisticated.

Your brand has presence in both offline and online, which one generates more revenue?

Our offline channel delivers 70% of our revenue.

With so many apparel brands in the market, how do you manage to stay ahead?

The pillar of our brand is the best in class quality and impeccably designed in-trend, highly fashionable classic styles. All our products are designed in Melbourne, Australia at our Global Design Centre and manufactured at some of the best factories in the world including India.

Our other strengths lie in ‘Customer Delight’ through offering ‘Quality’ across all customer touchpoints. We offer high quality products, have premium looking stores and a fashionable website as well as exemplary customer service by highly trained fashion consultants.

Our understanding with the customer has helped us design razor sharp marketing initiatives and our loyalty programme, ‘Allure’ has been highly instrumental in expanding and retaining the customer base.

How do you see Forever New growing in the next 5 years?

We are on a very promising trajectory of sales and market share growth accompanied in equal measure by a handsome increase and rate of growth in profitability. Our vision is to grow the brand four fold over the next five years and we are on that path to sustaining our current position of one of the most desirable and aspired for womenswear brands in India.

Please provide an overview of the Indian fashion industry.

The Indian fashion industry is on the path to uninterrupted phenomenal success at least for the next 15 years as the young burgeoning population evolves to adopt more fashionable products and as AI and digital grow exponentially. The massive growth and penetration of mobile connectivity will further propel the growth of social media, e-commerce platforms and give access to world class, cheap to premium fashion, to the last pin code in India.

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