A few days ago, Hindustan Unilever (HUL)
Chairman and managing director Sanjiv Mehta said that the pandemic can only pause the company's growth story.
In Q1FY22, HUL saw 9 percent volume growth, which was better than street expectations, revenues and profits were also ahead of expectations.
So, where do HUL and India's retail story head in the context of the changes that are seen in the consumer landscape, the behavioural changes as well as the spending changes? Has the pandemic made any lasting changes to consumer behaviour?
Speaking to Shereen Bhan at the launch of Lessons in Marketing Excellence Season 13, Mehta said modern trade will bounce back as normalcy returns in the country.
"In the long run as mobility goes up, modern trade is bound to come back because in a country like India, the entire shopping experience is much more than just going and buying. For many families going to a modern trade store is an outing in itself. When those stores are located in malls, it really becomes an outing. There have been several categories, which got impacted because of the mobility, people were not stepping out, so these are again impacts which are transient in nature."
Mehta said the company will continue to invest in skincare, cosmetics categories as they believe it will bounce back strongly.
"Health, hygiene and nutrition, all put together is nearly 85 percent of our portfolio. Even in the last fiscal year when the business grew at about 6 percent, this 85 percent of the portfolio grew at double digits. Then we have the balance 15 percent of the portfolio and this 15 percent of the portfolio is structurally very attractive for us."
"These have categories like skincare, colour cosmetics, ice cream and in many of these categories we are the market leaders and where we have got a great track record of performance. So, we are going to invest not just in the 85 percent of the business but also in the 15 percent of the business, knowing very clearly that once the pandemic is over these categories are bound to come back strongly."
Watch video for entire discussion.