Aditya Birla's fashion portal Abof set for second innings

Aditya Birla's fashion portal Abof set for second innings
14 Feb, 2018

Aditya Birla Online Fashion (Abof), Aditya Birla Group's flagship fashion and clothing portal, appears set for a second innings just two months after shutting shop.

The site displayed a "We will be back soon" message on Wednesday.

Launched in 2015, the company had decided last September to wind up operations by December 31, 2017. Abof had said at the time that the online apparel space was not mature enough to provide returns on investment.

Abof's private label Skult was to be absorbed by Madura Fashion & Lifestyle - the Aditya Birla Group's branded apparel division. 

But there appears to be change in heart as well as approach.

Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd, the fashion arm of the Aditya Birla Group, is now looking to launch an in-house brand, a company spokesperson told The Times of India

The company is looking to build Abof as a fast fashion omni-channel brand and restart the business in the next financial year, the report added.

Struggling sector?

At the time of its launch, Group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla had said Abof was intended a "specific fashion-oriented brand for youth".  At its peak, the platform sold more than 100 brands spread across the apparel, footwear and accessories segments.

But it eventually fell victim to deep discounting, which has also hurt other online e-commerce players and apparel brands. In 2015, Aditya Birla Group had shut its other e-commerce venture, Trendin.com, for similar reasons.

Both Abof and Ajio were in the race to buy online fashion portal Jabong before Flipkart snapped it up. 

The Bengaluru-based e-commerce giant had also acquired fashion Myntra in 2014, the country's first big-ticket merger deal in the startup ecosystem.

Of late, Amazon has also emerged as a strong fashion e-tailer.

The country’s largest apparel entities such as Arvind, Reliance and Tata all run their own e-commerce ventures. However, Future Group's fashion arm has steered clear of online retail. 

Reliance Retail’s e-commerce venture for clothes is Ajio, while Arvind operates a platform called NNNow.com. Tata’s e-commerce portal Cliq sells everything from apparel, footwear, electronics, mobiles, furniture and home furnishing units.