Department store chain Shoppers Stop plans to open 12-15 stores over the next six to nine months across India as footfalls grow on a month-on-month basis since lockdown restrictions were eased. The Raheja K-owned company is expecting footfalls to accelerate further with the vaccine rollout in India.
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Speaking to CNBC-TV18 on the sidelines of the Retail Leadership Summit, Venu Nair, managing director and chief executive officer of Shoppers Stop said the increase in footfalls in cities has been directly linked to the number of COVID-19 cases the place has seen. Accordingly, in non-metros, footfalls are close to pre-COVID levels. However, Shoppers Stop is seeing a recovery in sales ahead of recovery in footfalls.
"We are seeing serious shoppers coming in now. As a result of this, the absolute bill values have been much higher and therefore, the recovery of sales has been ahead of recovery in footfalls," Nair added.
Going ahead, the company will focus is to expand into cities and towns where it is not present. It will also expand its standalone beauty stores. Last quarter, it opened five standalone stores under this sector.
Meanwhile, the company has also seen over 100 percent growth in its omni-channel business over the past quarter as more customers shop online. Nair said the company is looking to transform Shoppers Stop into a truly omni-channel business by offering all its merchandise across its 86 stores to customers at any point in time.
In the September-December quarter, 6 percent of Shoppers Stop sales came through the digital route, up from less than 2 percent the year ago. The digital route includes the company’s website, its app and sales through Amazon.
Apart from its website and the app, Shoppers Stop also launched its white glove service on the app last quarter which would offer customers personal assistance across its product ranges. It is also working improving its app further to make shopping from their easier.
Another area of focus for Shoppers Stop will growing its private and exclusive brands going ahead. Private labels currently bring in about 12 percent of sales for the company. Nair claims that Shoppers Stop is leaders in offline beauty space and that's a space that they intend to grow going ahead.
Shoppers Stop operates exclusive stores for beauty brands from the Estee Lauder Group including M.A.C., Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Estée Lauder, Smashbox, Jo Malone. Most recently it launched a luxury beauty store called Arcelia as well, which it also plans to expand going ahead.
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The company has over 15 private and exclusive brands across categories. Going ahead the company is looking at increasing the contributions of private labels to its business, with a focus on Arcelia, while also looking to bring in more exclusive brands to Shoppers Stop.