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Lenskart may shift SE Asia manufacturing to India plant

Omnichannel eyewear retailer Lenskart plans to shift its entire manufacturing operations in Southeast Asia, including for its recently-acquired Japanese eyewear chain Owndays, to its largest manufacturing unit in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan, said two people with direct knowledge of the company’s plans.

The fully-automated facility uses mobile bots and can cater to up to 100 million customers every year. It is aimed at helping Lenskart grow production manifold and boost margins, said one of the people cited above.

“Controlling the supply chain through this factory will be value accretive and help the company ramp up its margins,” the second person said. Both requested anonymity.

Lenskart’s phygital approach to retailing eyewear has spurred an exponential growth in its business, the person added.

SoftBank-backed Lenskart, which is planning a public listing by the end of 2023, currently has a revenue run rate of 2,800-2,900 crore.

Owndays, which it acquired in a $400 million stock-and-cash deal, is profitable and has a revenue run rate of 1,800-2,000 crore.

With the merger, Lenskart now has access to around 13 markets in Asia, including India, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan.

“The idea is to service these markets from India,” said a third person, who also did not wish to be named. A Lenskart spokesperson did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Lenskart also has a manufacturing facility in Gurugram.

The Bhiwadi facility comprises a lens lab and frame manufacturing centre. This unit will also handle distribution of specialized stock keeping units (SKUs) such as sunglasses. Omnichannel distribution requires the use of technology, and Lenskart has been investing in a highly-automated distribution centre, capable of delivering more than 200,000 eyewear daily for the Indian and overseas markets.

To design and implement this modern distribution centre, Lenskart has partnered with robotics firm Addverb Technologies. When contacted, Satish Shukla, co-founder of Reliance Industries-controlled Addverb, confirmed the development.

“Lenskart serves over 7 million customers through its omni-channel retail model; it already has a good presence through its internet channel and has been opening physical stores at a rapid pace, not seen by any other player in this industry globally. Addverb provides warehouse and factory automation products powered by robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision and Internet of Things (IoT),” he said.

While Lenskart caters to the mass to mid-premium segments, Owndays targets the premium segment.

Earlier in August, Lenskart rolled out its at-home services with an aim to disrupt the eyewear market. It is currently available in 23 cities including Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Pune, Chennai, Coimbatore and Hyderabad.

The service offers an end-to-end solution including eye check-ups, frame trials, product selection, customization, and last mile delivery.

The second person said it would soon look to introduce these services in overseas markets.

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