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India’s leading retail company Shoppers Stop Ltd. has reported rapid business recovery in Q4 FY21. For the quarter, the company logged 90% of FY20 sales, the strongest recovery in the last four quarters.
The company reported Q4 sales at Rs 825 cr, reflecting a 10% YoY decline from FY20 and EBITDA at Rs 10.5 cr vs Rs.16.7 cr loss in FY20.
One of the most remarkable metrics was the 188% growth in omnichannel sales over the corresponding quarter of FY20. Private Brands volume grew by 38%, with the Beauty category outperforming with the start of make-up from mid-January.
“Gross margins improved by 189 bps with improved mix from Private brands. Private Brand grew by 11.5% (volume 38%) and its share to total business increased by 250 bps,” the company said in its earnings statement.
Operating efficiencies also improved with costs being lowered by Rs 43 cr in the quarter, it added.
Shoppers Stop MD and CEO Venu Nair commented, “Business recovery until Mid-March had been very encouraging. However, with surge in Covid-19 cases, we witnessed a drop in footfall resulting into drop in revenue.”
“Despite the Covid-19 impact, we had strong performances in all our strategic pillars. Our omnichannel sales grew by 188% (3X growth) and Private Brands’ volume grew by 38%,” he stated.
“Specifically, on omnichannel, our dream run continues. During the quarter, we did the first phase of the upgrade of the home page and continued to add new brands. We also improved our fulfilment parameters by changing the allocation logic which improved the Turnaround Time. We are investing heavily in this channel and have begun the second phase of the upgrade of our App, with a complete redesign of UI/UX, analytics and personalization,” Nair informed.
“Our success in transforming and revamping Private Brands continue to yield results. During the quarter, we launched performance wear and athleisure brand, ALTLIFE and INSENSE in the women’s sleepwear category. We have significantly improved our fashion quotient relevant to latest trends, besides upgrading the quality of merchandise. We have simplified the price matrix. Our customers are recognising the improvements that have been made offering great fashion and quality at affordable price points. This resulted in 38% volume growth, overall sales growth of 11.5% and increased share to the business by 250 bps,” he said.
The retailer’s loyalty programme First Citizens contributed 72% of the revenue, the company said, adding that it added 1,06,000 loyalty members during the quarter and as of March 31st, 2021.
“As on date, we have 7.8 million trusted Loyal Members. In our premium Annual Membership Program “Black Card”, enrolment grew by 172% — this is a subscription service at Rs. 4,500. We continue to engage with our loyal customers through our personal shoppers’ program. During the quarter, the personal shopper program contributed 14.7% (+80 bps),” Nair said.
Noting that store expansion was deferred due to the Covid-19 impact in FY21, Nair informed that the company plans to add 20+ stores across large and small formats in FY22. “The company is maintaining sufficient cash reserves to deal with any exigencies in coming quarters. We continue to remain debt free,” he said.
Shoppers Stop Ltd. operates 84 department stores in 44 Cities, as well as premium home concept stores (11 Stores), 127 Specialty Beauty stores of M.A.C, Estée Lauder, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Smash box, Jo Malone and Arcelia and 23 Airport doors, occupying an area of 4.5 million sq. ft.
“Even though one of the key benefits of this partnership is social impact, the PUMA and First Mile program has diverted over 40 tonnes of plastic waste from landfills and oceans, just for the products made for 2020. This roughly translates into 1,980,286 plastic bottles being reused,” said Stefan Seidel, Head of Corporate Sustainability for PUMA. “The pieces from this co-branded training collection range from shoes, tees, shorts, pants and jackets—all the apparel is made of at least 83 percent to even 100 percent from the more sustainable yarn sourced from First Mile.”
The company also announced that Board member Bobby Martin will take the role of Executive Chairman, effective March 23. Martin has extensive experience in the retail world, having served as president and CEO of Wal-Mart International, as a former director at Dillard’s Inc., and as a member of the Gap Inc. Board of Directors since 2002. His experiences will serve as a strong complement to Sonia’s, as they position the company to deliver value to our customers, employees and shareholders.
The growth of the kidswear category online is undeniable. Whether the growth is led by social media influence, changing lifestyle of urban and rural Indians or simply by the entry of a lot many more domestic and international brands, the category is witnessing an interesting phase. Apart from marketplace e-commerce players, entrepreneurs entering the space with their exclusive and niche kidswear line are expanding the category as well. As Siddharth Bindra aptly puts it, “The online market in general will continue to grow and online market for kidswear is no exception.”
Recently, Rahul Anand had been quoted as saying that his brand had noticed that Indian parents have become fashion seekers and are always looking for the best trends for their children – at all ages and stages of a child’s development. Citing an example from the data collected on Hopscotch, Anand said that parents dress their kids in infant fashion from when they are newborn to one year old. Between the ages of two to five, first-time parents opt to shop ‘the look’ and between ages six to nine, parents buy separate items, and are more confident about mixing and matching them.
Although 44.8 percent of UK childrenswear shoppers in the GlobalData 2019 clothing survey had purchased children’s clothing online over the past 12 months, Pep&Co is unable to benefit from this as it lacks a transactional website, meaning it must focus on driving footfall. To attract shoppers, Pep&Co must highlight its childrenswear ranges through window displays, social media and TV advertisements. It should also leverage its existing relationships with reality stars Mario Falcone and Ferne McCann, by featuring them alongside their children in marketing campaigns, and collaborating with them for social media advertisements, to help raise greater awareness of its offer.
“When we start looking at some of the problem statements, we see how we are not there yet with respect to that problem statement. We take initiatives to solve that problem and as we are thinking ahead of rest of the players, it can be termed as an innovation, but that is not the intent,” Nagaram says.
Owing to the growth potential of this market segment, a plethora of brands have entered India in last few years. With the emergence of e-commerce, exposure to global fashion trends, rising disposable income of the Indian working class, the kidswear segment has received a boost in India. Both brick-and-mortar as well as online shopping are relatively in the nascent stage and there is a pressing need to build a bridge between both spaces. For the present scenario, an omnichannel strategy is the way forward for retail.
Kids’ dressing habits in India have witnessed a paradigm shift. What used to be regular, basic outfi ts a few years ago have now transformed into full fashion lines, often of premium luxury. IMAGES Business of Fashion takes a look at the market dynamics of one of the fastest growing sectors of fashion retail – kidswear.
“Parents are definitely discount conscious. The recent e-commercetrend of deep discounting has made the customer attuned to promotions and off ers. That being said, given the rise of image conscious middle-class parents, we’ve seen great response and increased sales during non-promotion period too, i.e., season launch or new collection launch as well,” affirms Alok Dubey.
While sports / performance clubbed together with fashion is the customer demand right now, another fast emerging key trend is street fashion. Indian kids want to associate themselves with the ‘cool quotient’, which is mainly influenced by the intense social media presence in our lives.
South India has good modern retail options and the customer is not very different from the rest of India. Cities are gradually becoming more cosmopolitan and this has its own challenges for retail. There is availability of good quality real estate in the markets and Indian wear continues to be strong in these markets and advantageous to us as retailers.
He, however, says that Myntra does follow an affordable pricing strategy, which is very different from a discount-led pricing strategy. The online giant is continuously partnering with brands to see how it can make collections more affordable to consumers in Tier II & III cities and towns.
The main issue that we have faced so far has been reconciling with buyers and suppliers which requires an exhaustive computation before one can assess their GST. There’s a lot of back and forth involved to get the books of accounts in place for all the parties involved. The entire process is tedious, and a huge chunk of time and effort goes into this when you are a start-up. This, in the long run, means the time and attention spent on the development of the actual product or service gets compromised.
With drastically changing behavioral patterns due to growing incomes, discounts offered on products are no longer the primary differentiator for consumers in India, who are ready to spend more for high quality products. According to Nagaram, brand preferences and particular designs have instead, become the prime factors people consider while buying.