The Aditya Birla Group has launched a fashion portal to sell apparel, footwear and accessories, highlighting the growing importance of e-commerce for brick-and-mortar retailers.
The shopping site abof.com will sell its own merchandise as well as products from other brands, the company said in a statement.
"The e-commerce sector is a sunrise sector from an investment point of view. While a lot has happened in the last couple of years, a lot more is yet to happen in this space," said Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the Aditya Birla Group.
Birla said the group plans to focus on growing businesses in areas where it has strengths. “We see fashion e-commerce as one such space.”
The group houses India's top branded clothing company by revenues and number of outlets, Aditya Birla Fashion & Retail. The company was created in May this year when the group consolidated its branded apparel business under its lifestyle retail firm Pantaloons Fashion and Retail India Ltd and renamed it Aditya Birla Fashion.
The diversified conglomerate's move comes at a time when online shopping in the country is rapidly rising. The new venture will compete with the likes of Flipkart-owned Myntra and Rocket Internet-backed Jabong, besides horizontal e-commerce players such as Amazon and Snapdeal.
Another direct competitor would be Koovs.com. The lifestyle e-commerce venture's parent, Koovs plc, is in talks with existing and other investors to raise £35 million (around $53 million, or close to Rs 350 crore) for stepping up its marketing spends to better compete with peers.