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Wills Lifestyle shrivelled while the H&Ms and Zaras bloomed. Will ITC sell it off or shut it down?

Fashion week, big-designer collections, and a pivot to green fabrics — ITC tried everything to make its lifestyle-retailing business work. It ended up selling off John Players, and now Wills Lifestyle is struggling in the face of an offensive by fast fashion and online retail.
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soumyagupta
5 Aug 2019 11 Mins Read 1 comments
A Wills Lifestyle store in New Delhi, India, from March 2012. The business has since lost much of its sheen. Getty Images
A Wills Lifestyle store in New Delhi, India, from March 2012. The business has since lost much of its sheen.
ITC has long known that selling cigarettes is not a future-proof business. It has spent the better part of the last two decades nurturing its image as a conglomerate. It found success setting up hotels, selling atta, chips, and noodles, and is still persisting with soaps and shampoos. There's a play in stationery and agribusiness, too. But one foray
asks, why would someone buy Wills Lifestyle? If they need to add a brand in a category or brand position they don’t already have, such a move might make sense. But Wills Lifestyle, at least until recently, has never had that zing. “So, it’s difficult to see it as the target of an acquisition.” ( Graphics by Sadhana Saxena)
ITC has long known that selling cigarettes is not a future-proof business. It has spent the better part of the last two decades nurturing its image as a conglomerate. It found success setting up hotels, selling atta, chips, and noodles, and is still persisting with soaps and shampoos. There's a play in stationery and agribusiness, too. But one foray asks, why would someone buy Wills Lifestyle? If they need to add a brand in a category or brand position they don’t already have, such a move might make sense. But Wills Lifestyle, at least until recently, has never had that zing. “So, it’s difficult to see it as the target of an acquisition.” ( Graphics by Sadhana Saxena)

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