Thursday, February 2, 2023

Flipkart Group to invest in USPL to enhance fashion portfolio

New Delhi: The Flipkart Group on Thursday announced a strategic investment in USPL – a premium youth-focused fashion firm that operates brands like Wrogn – in a bid to strengthen its fashion portfolio.

While the financial details of the investment were not disclosed, Flipkart said it will work closely with the USPL team to deepen product offerings on its platforms.

“This is a Series F funding for USPL from the Flipkart Group along with participation from existing investor Accel Partners. This investment will significantly step-up the online strategy of USPL by strengthening the existing long-standing engagement between USPL and Flipkart Group,” a statement said.

In October 2018, Universal Sportsbiz Pvt Ltd (USPL) had announced raising USD 13.5 million (around Rs 100 crore) from investors, valuing the company at around Rs 1,200 crore.

The latest development comes close on the heels of Walmart-owned Flipkart Group’s Rs 1500 crore investment in Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd (ABFRL) that was announced on October 23. With this infusion, Flipkart Group will own a 7.8 percent equity stake in ABFRL on a fully diluted basis, a statement had said.

On Tuesday, Flipkart had announced the acquisition of intellectual property from Mech Mocha for an undisclosed amount to strengthen its gaming strategy.

These investments are expected to help Flipkart get a bigger foothold in the Indian market as it battles it out with rival, Amazon and billionaire Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries that is rapidly expanding its retail business via major acquisitions and large-scale funding from overseas investors, including Silver Lake and KKR.

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Founded in 2015, USPL has built a portfolio of premier youth-focused fashion brands for young Indians, including Imara (women’s ethnic wear brand), Ms.Taken (women’s western wear brand), Single (men’s casual wear brand), and Wrogn Active (men’s athleisure line).

USPL’s flagship brand, Wrogn is a men’s casual wear brand that has been among the leading brands on Myntra (Flipkart group company) over the last few years, the statement said.

USPL brands are also present in over 750 offline retail outlets in more than 100 cities across India and USPL has been growing at 40-50 percent year-on-year.

“The last few months have provided a great opportunity for us to consolidate our market leadership among homegrown brands catering to the youth and expand our market share. Post-pandemic recovery has been great for us and we are at about 80 percent of pre-COVID sales,” Anjana Reddy, Founder, and CEO of USPL said.

Reddy added that as the world is moving towards Omni-channel retailing, the company can significantly strengthen its online strategy by working with Flipkart and Myntra, the two prominent players in the Indian online fashion space.

USPL’s unique brands, backed by celebrity endorsements, have a strong appeal for the young fashion-driven Indian consumer. This investment will help USPL and the Flipkart Group find deeper synergies as we continue on our commitment to grow an ecosystem of partnerships that deliver value for consumers and brands,” Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy said.



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